Denial of dignity and rights
The health of 68-year-old political prisoner Kobad Ghandy, six years into his incarceration, is deteriorating rapidly, even as proceedings in the cases slapped against him, barring one, are yet to begin. Ghandy is suffering from a host of health problems that include irritable bowel syndrome, dizziness, nausea, a severe kidney problem for which he has been receiving treatment at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences on and off, a serious heart condition, and an abnormal dropping of pulse rate for which he has been advised to have a pacemaker fitted.
Lodged in the High Risk Ward of Tihar Jail, he is under severe stress and has appealed for a speedy trial or release on bail for treatment. In September, on the basis of the Jail Superintendent’s report that Ghandy was a follow-up case of hypertension, decreased vision, an ingrowing toenail with keloid, benign prostatic hyperplasia, and cervical spondylitis, an Additional Sessions judge observed that his condition had visibly deteriorated during the trial of the case and granted him an interim bail for three months. But he continues to be in jail because there are several cases pending against him. Before Ghandy could produce the bail bond as required by the court, police teams from other States are waiting to rearrest him.
According to an affidavit filed with the Supreme Court, the Andhra Pradesh government revealed that there is a total of 14 cases against him—in that State, Telangana, Delhi, Surat, Patiala, West Bengal and Jharkhand. He is being charged under various, overlapping sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). The Delhi case is in its final stages, and Ghandy is set to face serial trials across the country on its culmination. He is being charged with being a central committee and politburo member of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), a banned organisation, and looking after the outfit’s international department, the subcommittee on mass organisation, central publishing bureau and the south-western regional bureau…