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Why Govt of India fears release of Dr Saibaba, a person with 90% disabilities? asks wife

By Our Representative 

The wife of Dr GN Saibaba, jailed wheelchair bound former professor of Delhi University with 90% disability and several severe comorbidities, has complained that, despite her husband was tested Covid-19 positive on February 12, he was not taken to hospital, wondering, “Why is a person suffering from post-polio paralysis, a person who cannot walk, a person whose heart and mind work but every other part of his body is affected, not being given bail? Why is the state afraid of giving him bail?”
Addressing media conference in Delhi organised by the Committee for the Defence and Release of Dr GN Saibaba, who is lodged at the anda cell (solitary confinement) of Nagpur Central Prison on being arrested on May 9, 2014 on charges of having Naxalite-Maoist links, Vasantha said, 13 out of 25 people in his barrack tested positive. Despite this, not just he but none of the inmates were taken to the hospital. They were provided basic antibiotics and told to fend for themselves.
She further said, Dr Saibaba was not allowed to meet his dying mother or even perform the last rites after her death. When so many others were being given parole, bail or even being acquitted after being released from jail, why is Dr Saibaba still being held in custody?, she asked, pointing towards the terror she felt when she heard of Kanchan Nannaware, a prisoner with a severe ailment in the heart who was operated on and died during surgery, a surgery performed without informing her husband or family.
General secretary of the National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD) Muralidharan told media, “The experience of Dr Saibaba amounts to nothing but torture, cruelty and indignity.” As someone speaking for the rights of persons with disabilities, he said, “We are demanding that they implement the laws enshrined in the Constitution”, adding, denial of assistive devices like wheelchairs for persons who cannot walk amounts to torture. “In light of the torture faced by him, Dr Saibaba must be released”, he added.
Former president of the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) Nandita Narain, “Today, justice looks at the face of the person standing before it and gives justice accordingly. If you are a Saibaba, Sudha Bharadwaj or others, false cases are foisted on you, something proved beyond doubt by the Arsenal Report.” She added, “We are here to demand his release on bail and proper medical treatment instead of the anda cell.”
Speaking of the use of electronic evidence to accuse, charge and convict dissenting voices, well-known Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan said, the manner in which emails are planted in computers, as revealed by the Arsenal Consulting Report, suggests the need to take up Justice DY Chandrachud’s dissent in the Supreme Court in the petition filed by Romila Thapar and others in light of the Bhima Koregaon arrests where emails which were allegedly recovered from the computers of people using a language unknown to its purported author.
Today, anyone who questions the government is targeted. They are not afraid of Dr Saibaba's body but his brain
He said, “They are now going after everyone who is seen as against the government. They have even gone after journalists who have written stories against the government. The method of doing this is by making any kind of charge. As seen in the Delhi Riots case, they have gone after people against whom they have no evidence, people like Devangana Kalita, Safoora Zargar, Umar Khalid besides many others, all of whom are targeted under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).”
Bhushan felt that this law is utilised due to the provision where at the first instance, without any investigation into the facts of the case, the judge is expected to establish if there is a prima facie case against the accused. He stated, “Unless the police are held accountable for foisting false cases, they will go on doing this.” Likewise, he added, the continued incarceration of Dr Saibaba amounts to torture and he called on the courts, the establishment and the others to ensure that he is released immediately.
Drawing connections between the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, Sedition Act, the role of the BJP-RSS and the incarceration of Dr Saibaba, former CPI Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha D Raja said, “Today, anyone who questions the government is targeted. We are facing a grave threat to the ethos that we have been proud of. Today, we are witnessing fascist rule.” He wondered why is the government afraid of Dr Saibaba, pointing out, “They are not afraid of his body but his brain.”
A member of the defence committee for Dr Saibaba, filmmaker Sanjay Kak said, the threat to Dr Saibaba’s life “is also a threat to us and what lies ahead for all of us”. Prof Parminder Singh added, Dr Saibaba stood in defence the basic rights of the people of this country to their livelihood, resources and culture, one reason why the demand for his release becomes absolutely urgent and legitimate, as his incarceration is part of the onslaught against all those who speak against the attack on the resources of this country.
Well-known writer Arundhati Roy, pointing out how how the incarceration of Dr Saibaba, a person in judicial custody, amounts to torture every single day that he spends behind bars, said, “Every single day something irreversible is happening to him. This is every day, slowly taking something away from him. While there is a sliding scale of access on the basis of ability, caste, class etc., for a person like Dr. Saibaba who is paralysed waist down, for him even in judicial custody he is tortured every day and everything that happens to him is irreversible.”
She said, “What we are witnessing now is not politics, it is pathology”, pointing out, “We have to remember that some of the best lawyers in this country, including Dr. Saibaba’s lawyer, Adv Surendra Gadling, is in jail. “Anyone who stands up for anyone is in jail”, she said, adding, ,“Today, it is dangerous to be in the defence committee. Whoever speaks for Dr Saibaba is likely to be picked up, be it Rona Wilson, Hany Babu and others.”

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