Petition urges medical treatment for jailed ex-Delhi University Professor G N Saibaba
The National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled has petitioned the National Human Rights Commission urging that former Delhi University Professor Dr G N Saibaba be shifted from prison to a medical facility for treatment. Dr Saibaba, a wheelchair user with 90% disability, is in the Nagpur Central Jail.
‘Save the life of Dr. G.N Saibaba’. Words from a petition sent to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) by cross disability rights organisation, National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD).
Dr. Saibaba is a wheelchair user with 90% disability lodged at the Nagpur Central Jail. His disability is due to polio which has affected both his legs as well as progressive and incurable conditions of the spine and nervous system. His wife has said that his arms are also now paralysed and immobile due to injuries inflicted by the police during his arrest and lack of access to medical treatment in jail.
He has been facing tremendous difficulties in the Nagpur Central Jail, where he is currently lodged. The jail premises are completely inaccessible. He is mistreated and mishandled by the police and jail staff on a regular basis. Additionally, held in solitary confinement, even the earlier assistance given to him by other inmates has been stopped since some time now, owing to which he has to live in unhygienic conditions inside the inaccessible anda cell. – National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled
Threat of COVID-19 infection
Calling the conditions in jail deplorable, the petition also says that Dr Saibaba faces the threat of being infected by COVID-19. “Many guards and prisoners (one even close to his cell) have been infected with the dreaded Covid-19. Given his weak physical condition, his co-morbidities, cardiac problem combined with high blood pressure as also a compromised immune system, there is every possibility that Dr. Saibaba may contract the virus. This may prove highly dangerous and fatal for him. Saibaba also requires immediate hospitalisation to get treated for various other health conditions, cited above, which he is being currently and consistently denied”.
Calling his current situation a violation of all fundamental rights, the petition reminds the NHRC that as a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and the UN Resolution 70/175 on Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, India has an obligation to reaffirm the right to life with dignity of prisoners.
In June 2018, the United Nations had called for Dr Saibaba’s release for treatment.
In March 2017, Dr Saibaba was sentenced to life in prison by a sessions court in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district for alleged unlawful activities.