Bhima Koregaon: NIA Court Asks Taloja Jail to Provide Kabir Kala Manch’s Gorkhe Treatment in J J Hospital
TODAY, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) court of special judge Rajesh Kataria directed the jail superintendent of Taloja Central Prison to refer Sagar Gorkhe to J.J. Hospital, Mumbai to provide him with the required medical treatment.
Gorkhe is a musical performer, anti-caste activist and member of the cultural troupe Kabir Kala Manch. He is accused in the Bhima Koregaon–Elgar Parishad Maoist links and criminal conspiracy case.
Gorkhe has been lodged at Taloja Central Prison since September 7, 2020, on allegations of involvement in offences under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA).
The direction was in respect of an application filed by Gorkhe, praying the court for urgent and necessary treatment for his mental and physical health.
Advocate Neeraj Yadav, appearing for Gorkhe, argued that the prison administration has deprived Gorkhe of medicines prescribed for his psychiatric treatment and deprived him of other recommended medical attention such as a CT scan.
Yadav argued that Gorkhe suffers from neurological and spine issues. Yadav prayed the court to allow Gorkhe to receive treatment at J.J. Hospital.
Later, Gorkhe appeared through video conference in the court and stated his grievances on the availability of psychiatric treatment.
Gorkhe said that although he was recommended antidepressant medicines last year, neither was a doctor appointed to attend to his condition nor any other treatment has been given to him.
According to Gorkhe’s application, he was diagnosed with ‘psychiatric problems’ and was on medication prescribed by a visiting psychiatrist in Taloja Central Prison. The application states that the psychiatrist has not visited Gorkhe for almost a year.
Moreover, the medicines prescribed by the psychiatrist were discontinued, aggravating the mental health issues faced by Gorkhe, the plea states.
Gorkhe asserts in the application that the chief medical officer of the prison has not attended to his psychiatric issues, alleging that the officer is not equipped to address mental health problems.
As per the application, on October 9, the prison doctor changed Gorkhe’s medicines without attending to him, causing him giddiness, vomiting and stomach ache.
However, despite the visiting psychiatrist subsequently changing medicines, Gorkhe continued to suffer from the condition, without the prison doctor attending to him, the plea adds.
The application claims that the prison authorities have consistently denied access to Gorkhe’s medical records.
It adds that when Gorkhe was taken to J.J. Hospital on multiple occasions as his health deteriorated, the prison authorities, even on request, did not provide the psychiatric department of the hospital with Gorkhe’s medical records.
The application states that on October 21 this year, a visiting psychiatrist recommended a CT scan and immediate admission to the hospital. However, the prison authorities instead took Gorkhe to the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation Hospital as an out-patient, where he was prescribed different medicines.
In addition, Gorkhe suffers from spine and back issues, the application states.
In conclusion, the application prays for the court to direct the jail superintendent and chief medical officer of Taloja Central Prison to provide Gorkhe with all his medical records; to place him under proper and regular care of a competent psychiatrist; to provide him with counselling sessions; and to monitor his mental health status and provide its regular reports.
The application also prays for the calling of all medical reports of Gorkhe from J.J Hospital and for the NIA court to be apprised of the medical attention given to Gorkhe within one week.
On September 7, 2020, the NIA arrested Gorkhe in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case, facing charges under the UAPA for being associated with an alleged Maoist plot to overthrow the government and assassinate the prime minister.
On February 14, 2022, the special NIA court denied bail to Gorkhe and three others co-accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, where the court maintained that the accused hatched a “serious conspiracy” to create unrest in the country.
In a letter dated May 20, 2022, Gorkhe wrote to Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil announcing a hunger strike in protest against the conditions at Taloja jail.
According to Gorkhe, “extreme distress” was caused to him and his co-accused at the prison, where the treatment meted out was like a “torture camp”.
Gorkhe continues to be lodged in prison, awaiting trial.
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