On February 29, 2016, I sent you a written question – E-001822-16 – about the situation of imprisonment that Professor GN Saibaba was suffering in India, to which you replied that the EU “The EU has been closely following cases of human rights defenders arrested in India, including the cases of professor Saibaba, accused of having links with Naxal militants, and of Ms. Arundathi Roy, accused of contempt of court for her article defending the cause of Professor Saibaba. The EU Delegation in New Delhi has made appeals on humanitarian grounds with the National Human Rights Commission.
The EU attaches great importance to the issues at stake, most importantly to the freedom of expression, the right to a fair trial and the rights of human rights defenders. These issues are also addressed at the EU-India human rights dialogue.” Continue reading
NEARLY FIVE years after 17 people were killed in an “encounter” at Sarkeguda village in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district, final arguments in the judicial inquiry into the incident, headed by retired judge V K Agarwal, began on Saturday. Villagers have alleged that a combined team of CRPF and state police began unprovoked firing on a group of villagers who had congregated to plan a local custom, Beech Pondum. The firing — on the intervening night of June 28-29, 2012 — left 16 dead and several people injured. Locals alleged that another person was killed the following morning. The police and CRPF have maintained that they were fired upon first by Maoists. The state government at the time had announced compensation for those killed in the encounter. Continue reading
The Persecuted Prisoners Solidarity Committee (PPSC) strongly condemns the judgement by the Gadchiroli Sessions Court March 7, 2017 convicting Mahesh Tirki, Pandu Narote, Hem Mishra, Prashant Rahi, Vijay Tirki and G N Saibaba, under various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA) and awarding life sentence to five of them and a ten year imprisonment to another. Continue reading
Authorities in Maharashtra are denying potentially life-saving medical treatment to Gokarakonda Naga Saibaba, putting his health at grave risk, Amnesty International India said today.
On 7 March, G N Saibaba, an activist and academic, was convicted of membership and support for the Communist Party of India (Maoist) – a banned armed group – and sentenced to life imprisonment by a Maharashtra court. He is being detained at the Nagpur central jail. Saibaba’s legs are almost completely paralyzed and he is a wheelchair user. In February, he was diagnosed with acute pancreatitis and advised to have his gall bladder removed. Following his arrest, his condition has considerably worsened.
“Denying medical treatment to a prisoner is never justified, and can amount to torture,” said Abhirr VP, Senior Campaigner at Amnesty International India. “Saibaba has not lost his right to medical care simply because he is in prison. Authorities must transfer him to a hospital outside to receive any specialized medical care that he needs which is not available in prison.”
In a letter written to his wife on 14 March, Saibaba said: “With added new problems of an attack on my pancreas, I turned more vulnerable as I am not able to digest the food given in jail. Apart from all other 19 health issues of my vital organs, this problem has become severe as I have to eat something to take huge amounts of medicines and if I eat anything I am not able to digest.”
Speaking to Amnesty International India, G N Saibaba’s advocate, Surendra Gadling, said, “I met the professor on 21 March and he looked really weak. He has immense pain because of the acute pancreatitis and he needs to be admitted in a super specialty hospital where an immediate surgery must be done. The Nagpur central jail has no such facilities. We made an appeal to the court on 7 March to allow him his medicines, but the court did not grant permission… Prison authorities have also denied his request to wear a lungi instead of trousers, and a better mattress, since he has acute shoulder pain.”
Prison authorities refused to formally respond to Amnesty International India’s questions. An official at the Nagpur prison, who asked not to be named, said that jail doctors were treating G N Saibaba and that he was ‘fine’. They denied that he had been refused a lungi or a better mattress.
“When denying medical care to a prisoner causes severe pain or suffering and is intentionally done to punish or intimidate, it amounts to torture, which is a crime under international law,” said Abhirr VP.
G N Saibaba was denied medical care earlier as well, when he was detained by the Maharashtra police in May 2014 for his alleged links with the CPI (Maoist) armed group. In March 2016, the Supreme Court of India granted him bail on medical grounds after his health deteriorated. According to media reports, the court said the Maharashtra government had been “extremely unfair to the accused, especially considering his health”.
India is a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and a signatory to the UN Convention Against Torture, which impose an absolute prohibition on torture and other ill-treatment. The UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, also known as the Nelson Mandela Rules, state that the provision of healthcare of prisoners is a state responsibility, and that prisoners “should enjoy the same standards of health care that are available in the community” without discrimination. The Mandela Rules also provide that prisoners who require specialist treatment must be transferred to specialized institutions or outside hospitals when such treatment is not available in prison.
A week after the Sukma encounter, which killed 12 personnel of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the maoist party released a press statement carrying an image of assembled modern weapons they Possessed from the dead CRPF personnel.
The picture along with the statement released by the South Bastar Divisional Committee of CPI (Maoist) showed four AK-47 assault rifles, six INSAS rifles, One Light Machine Gun (LMG), one Under Barrel Grenade Launcher (UBGL) two wireless sets and over 1130 bullet cartridges taken away by the rebels.
The sessions court in Gurgaon on 18 March, 2017 sentenced 13 workers of Maruti Suzuki to life imprisonment for murder. Twelve of these are the erswhtile leaders of the Maruti Suzuki Workers’ Union. Eighteen others were sentenced from three to five years for rioting and causing grievous injury. Cases against these workers were filed in July 2012 after violence in company’s Manesar plant during which one official unfortunately lost his life. On company’s complaint police arrested 148 workers and charged them with conspiracy and killing the company official.