Prof. Sai Baba: Kin worried of his health and demand his Release

Incarceration of a well-known human rights activist, who is suffering from 90% physical disability in such inhumane circumstances is atrocious.

Dr G N SaiBaba committee

The Kin of Prof. GN Sai Baba has expressed grave concerns about his worsening health and the situation he is forced to live in as Covid-19 pandemic has seen an outbreak in Nagpur Central Prison.

In his most recent call to his family and advocate, Prof. GN Sai Baba has informed that an uncontrolled outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic in the Nagpur Central Prison where he has been incarcerated as of now. He made this telephonic call to his family and advocate after obtaining special permission from the prison authorities. He also informed that the disease had seen a widespread and large scale outbreak in the prisons wherein barracks after barracks were getting infected. On 8th July 2020, 20 prisoners of the Anda Cell underwent Covid-19 swab tests and one of the prisoners was found infected.”The disease has reached very close to me” and that it was only a “matter of time” said Prof GN Sai Baba. Owing to his weak health and existing co-morbidities, he was in a more vulnerable situation. According to him, even the officers who oversaw and roamed in the barracks too were infected. No special care has not been provided to him. He has neither been provided any treatment for the other serious health issues he suffers from.

Health Issues Professor is suffering from:

The 53-year-old professor is an easy target for the virus and once infected, it would very difficult for him to recover and survive on his own. He has been for long forced to live in unhygienic conditions and has not even been assigned ‘helpers’. His health must be a priority given for the fact that if he tests Covid-19 positive, he would be confined all alone without any helpers aiding him and would not be allowed to shift to the family for healthcare. The family has alleged that this is a death sentence for him given that he is most sensitive to infections in his current conditions.

On his previous call dated 6th July 2020 he had informed that he was not doing well in terms of health and that he was taken to Nagpur Government Super Specialities Hospital twice during Covid-19 lockdown. He was taken to more than 5 departments and was asked to undertake more tests and was prescribed pain-killers. The hospital conducted an MRI-Brain Scan and other tests and the reports have not been provided so far.  His health reports of the tests he undertook in September 2018 too haven’t been provided to his family for them to take advice from their family doctor on his health conditions.

Sai Baba was advised to undergo surgery to remove the Gall Bladder by the doctors of Nagpur Super Specialities Hospital on 25th June 2020. However, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak and his deteriorated health conditions, it was not advisable for him to undergo surgery and was suggested to use Hot and Cold packs regularly, use a medical bed for sleeping assisting himself with six side pillows which were not yet provided for him.

He has not even been allotted a supporting attendant as yet due to which he is not able to perform his daily routine including going to the washrooms. Since there is no one to aid him, he is using very dirty and unclean clothes and bedsheets for a long time now which makes him all the more vulnerable. He has also been denied newspapers since March. Professor has also informed that his left hand was also on the verge of failure and had affected his right hand too. He is also experiencing severe pain till his shoulders too.

He is suffering from severe physical pain due to the degeneration of muscles in his hands. He is also suffering from Pancreatitis, Blood Pressure, Cardiomyopathy, chronic backache, immobility, and sleeplessness.

Parole and Bail Applications

While an application for parole was rejected by the jail authorities as his brother was a resident of a COVID containment zone, the second plea for releasing him on parole was submitted more than a month ago which has not seen a response from the jail authorities.

On 14th July 2020, the Bombay High Court Bench at Nagpur has provided 10 days’ time for the prosecution to submit its reply and has scheduled the case at the end of July. Despite interventions from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and International Human Rights organizations, the courts have denied him bail repeatedly. Undue delay without bail for the incarcerated is a blatant denial of Fundamental Right to Life and Liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution.

India is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and also has ratified the UN Convention on Rights of Persons With Disabilities (CRPD) on 1st October 2007. India has also adopted UN Resolution 70/175 on Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (also known as Nelson Mandela Rules) and the Supreme Court of the country also has upheld the Right to Life and reflected on the lives of prisoners on its earlier judgments.

In this regard, his family members including his spouse Vasantha Kumari and his mother Suryavathi have appealed to the Maharashtra State Government and the Union Government to release him on either Bail or Parole immediately so that he be provided appropriate medical treatment either at Hyderabad or Delhi where his family members are living.

However, it is only atrocious on part of the state to incarcerate a well-known wheel-chair bound human rights activist who is suffering from 90% physical disability in such inhumane circumstances putting his life under such severe risks. He was arrested on May 09th,2014 on the allegations that he has links with the Maoists. However, he has been incarcerated in Nagpur Central Prison’s Anda Cell (solitary confinement cell) since March 07th, 2017. On April 30th. UN Office of High Commissioner of Human Rights has also written to the Indian Government urging it to release him immediately.

Read About:Bhima-Koregaon: When the Process Becomes Punishment

 

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