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‘Save G N Saibaba’s Life’: Authorities Urged to act as Jailed Prof’s Health Worsens During Hunger Strike

The urgency of meeting G N Saibaba’s demands was underlined as his health is fast deteriorating due to the hunger strike.
GN Saibaba

The Committee for the Defense and Release of Dr G N Saibaba called on the Assistant Director General of Prison, Jail Authorities, and the Home Minster of Maharashtra to immediately resolve the demands of the jailed academic who is on a hunger strike. The former Delhi University professor, a 90% physical disabled person, is lodged in Nagpur central Jail where he started a hunger strike on May 21 against installation of CCTV in front of his cell. 

The Committee, comprising academics, activists, and journalists, underlined the urgency of meeting Saibaba’s demands as his health is fast deteriorating due to the hunger strike, according to his counsel Advocate Aakash Sorde. The body also demanded medical attention be given to him. 

On May 10, the prison authorities installed a CCTV camera in front of his Anda Cell (egg-shaped solitary cell), which recorded his use of toilet, bathing and other activities. The Committee said in a statement, “This 24-hour camera surveillance is a clear violation of his fundamental right to privacy, life, liberty, and bodily integrity.” It added, “The rights, even of a convicted person, should be upheld.” 

As the jailed academic and activist went on a hunger strike, his family members (wife and brother) submitted a letter to the Home Minister of Maharashtra to put forward the demands, including removal of the CCTV, grant of parole for proper medical treatment for his many ailments, shifting him from the Anda Cell which is subject to extreme weather conditions. 

The Committee noted that Saibaba had also sat on a hunger strike one and half years ago during lockdown in the jail demanding the immediate handover of medicines supplied by his family members and advocates, supply of books, letters etc. Some of these demands had been accepted.  

This time, after four days of hunger strike, the prison authorities finally changed the direction of the CCTV camera, which was earlier facing his cell, Advocate Sorde informed the Committee. To resolve his other demands, Saibaba has to write letters to the ADG Prisons and the Maharashtra Home Minister separately, and the jail authorities would forward them. 

Jail authorities have also accepted to give him a suitable water bottle which was previously refused to him.  

All other demands would be accepted one by one in due course of time, they said, but highlighted that due to four days of hunger strike, Saibaba has suffered serious health problems. 

“From third day of hunger strike blood motions were started and continuing to date. The blood is spilling all over the bed and helpers are changing and cleaning the bedsheets. The skin of Dr. G.N. Saibaba has become loosen and coming out of the muscles,” the Committee said in its statement. It added that on May 25 evening, Saibaba was admitted to the prison hospital as the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and the Superintendent accepted to extend medical treatment to him.  

Thus, the Defence committee urged the concerned authorities to accept Saibaba’s demands and appealed them to provide necessary medical treatment by immediately shifting him to a hospital with all necessary facilities.  

G N Saibaba was sentenced to life imprisonment by a lower court in Gadchiroli in 2007 under the controversial Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for having alleged Maoist links. His appeal against ruling is pending before the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court.

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