GN Saibaba, the professor of Delhi University who was arrested in 2014 for allegedly having Maoist links, has now tested positive for COVID-19 in Nagpur Central Jail.
Vasantha and Ramdev, the wife and brother of GN Saibaba respectively, received a call from Saibaba and have been informed that he is now being taken to Nagpur Government Medical College for X-Ray and CT Scan
The professor has 15 critical ailments, and is 90% disabled. He has been wheelchair-bound since the age of five because of polio.
On 28 June 2018 and 30 April 2019, the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) had written to the Indian government highlighting the health condition of GN Saibaba and the treatment that has been meted out to him. He urged the authorities to immediately release Saibaba, because of his seriously deteriorating health condition.
“Dr. Saibaba’s health problems require immediate and sustained medical attention and are reaching a point of being life-threatening,” the five Special Rapporteurs Catalina Devandas, Michel Forst, Dainius Pūras, Nils Melzer and Agnès Callamard wrote.
“He has a cyst in his brain due to which he keeps getting unconscious and has maladies in his gall bladder and pancreas,” his wife Vasantha Kumari, had said to The Hindu in 2019. “He also has issues in his kidney and spine because of which he needs comprehensive treatment,” she said.
The professor was arrested in 2014, and was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2017 which was seen by the Gadchiroli Sessions Court as not a sentence ‘serious enough’. The professor was denied a bail on 28 July 2020 which was demanded citing the heightened health risk due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The professor is known for his voice against the Operation Green Hunt, which according to him and many others was a measure to seize Adivasi land for corporate interests and suppress and torture ordinary Adivasis fighting for their rights.