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Archives for : Prison

In UP, 8 donkeys put in jail for four days

Crime: Destroying Swachh Mission Plants

Kanpur: In a bizarre case, eight donkeys were lodged in Orai jail for four days in UP’s Jalaun district for destroying some “expensive plants”, planted in the jail’s residential block under the ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’. The animals were ‘released’ on Monday after the intervention of a local BJP leader.

Authorities said the donkeys belonging to a man, Kamlesh, devoured costly saplings and other crops on November 24. Following instructions of jail authorities, the eight donkeys were rounded up and put behind bars.

“These donkeys ate and damaged some very expensive plants worth Rs 60,000. Kamlesh, despite repeated warnings, let them loose. On November 24, following instructions of our seniors, we lodged the donkeys into the jail,” said R K Mishra, a head constable posted at the jail. When Kamlesh began a search for the animals, he was told they were in jail on the charge of destroying saplings. He met senior officers, jail superintendent Sita Ram Sharma pleading they be let out, but was refused. Kamlesh then requested a local BJP leader’s interven- following which the animals were “released”.

Sharma said, “There is no such law wherein we can arrest donkeys. They were confined for four days to teach their owner a lesson. They were allowed to go on Monday only after Kamlesh gave us a written affidavit that he would not allow his animals to roam in residential areas or places of public importance.” The donkeys had, on many occasions, also caused road mishaps in the area, Sharma added.

 

The animals were ‘released’ after a local BJP leader intervened

http://epaper.timesgroup.com/Olive/ODN/TimesOfIndia/#

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Jailvaani, a Community Radio Run by And For Bhilwara Jail Inmates

The radio station was inaugurated last Thursday and is now fully operational. Inmates lodged in various barracks of Bhilwara Jail can request songs, recite their own jokes and poetry, and get updated with the latest news and government run programs all through the week.

Jailvaani, a Community Radio Run by And For Bhilwara Jail Inmates
Representative Image. (Reuters)
New Delhi: The 300 inmates lodged in Rajasthan’s Bhilwara prison now have something to look forward to during their jail terms. The experiment that began years ago in New Delhi’s Tihar jail has now been introduced there – community jail radio.

Called ‘Jailvaani’, the community radio will be run and heard by the inmates of Bhilwara jail.

The radio station was inaugurated last Thursday and is now fully operational. Inmates lodged in various barracks can request songs, recite their own jokes and poetry, and get updated with the latest news and government run programs all through the week.

According to jail officials, the radio will go live every day for one hour, between 1 and 2 pm.

The weekly radio will begin on Monday, when patriotic songs will be played first on ‘Jailvaani’. This will be followed by a broadcast of programs run by the government in the state.

On Tuesday, the radio will play ‘Bhule Bisre Geet’, an assortment of old Bollywood songs. This show will accept requests from the listeners also. The songs will be followed by a bulletin, in which news from across the state and the country will be played on the radio.

Wednesday is the fun day with ‘Zara Muskura Dijiye’, a program dedicated to reciting jokes compiled by the radio jockeys and the inmates. This recitation of jokes will be followed by Bollywood songs.

On Thursday, spiritual and devotional songs will be played on the radio. The day will be dedicated to songs that are intended to bring some peace and tranquility in the lives of the inmates of Bhilwara jail.

Friday will be an afternoon of ‘Mehfil-e-Tarannum’. Ghazals and nazms written by the inmates of Bhilwara jail will be recited for one hour on the community radio.

On Saturday, ‘Aapki farmaayish’ program will accept requests for songs of legendary Hindi film singers like Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammad Rafi and Kishore Kumar.

And Sunday will be ‘Radio Dhamaal‘ day. New Bollywood songs will play through most of the time from 1 pm to 2 pm. On this day some time will also be devoted to important announcements from jail officers.

The idea of having jail inmates start and run their own radio stations was started from India’s biggest prison – the Tihar Jail – back in July 2013. It was named ‘Radio TJ.’ Since then the idea, to keep jail inmates occupied with this creative pursuit has been emulated multiple times in several jails across the country.http://www.news18.com/news/india/jailvaani-a-community-radio-run-by-and-for-bhilwara-jail-inmates-1575755.html

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Farmers leaders denied access to meet Akhil gogai in Dibrugadh jail #WTFnews

 
Akhil Bharatiya Kishan sangrash samanwaye samiti deamnds immediate  Release  of Akhil gogai. The   Farmers leaders denied access to meet Akhil gogai in Dibrugadh jail. Assamese Farmers loose 5500 cr every season in paddy purchase only  4700 farmers committed suicide in Assam in last 10years .
President of swabhimani shetkari  sangathan and member of Parliament Raju shetty and  former Member of Legislative Assembly (Madhya Pradesh), Convernor of All india Nasha Mukth Andolan , Samajwadi samagam,  Dr. Sunilam reached  Dibrugarh  today , to meet Akhil Gogoi leader of krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) but they were denied meeting  by District commissioner of Dibrugadh . When they talk to home  Secretary , chief secretary assam  they said that it’s discretion of Dm . After denied access they tried to meet Cheif minister of Assam at his residence in Dibrugadh  but security officials said he is sleeping although it was 4pm evening , afterwards  police officials said that he will not meet you
 Raju setty, talking to   media persons outside of the jail said that it was t first time in his lifetime that he was denied access to meet a undertrail. He said that meeting cannot be denied according to jail manual but due to political pressure even the jail manual is set aside . It is simply murder of democracy which will not be tolerated by Akhil Bharatiya Kishan sangrash samanya samiti. He said that he will write a letter to the Chief minister. He said that its breach of priveledge so he will raise this issue  in the Parliament.
 He also said that after Independence it is for  the 1st time that 184 farmers organization with  Green and red  flags have come together .Mr raju shetty  said that farmers struggle  under Akhil Gogois  leadership Farmers loans will be waived off in Assam and total paddy will be procured  . He said on coming 20thNov farmers will reach Delhi in huge nos and pass bill in kisan sansad which  I will but forward in  Parliament .
        Dr. Sunilam  from Madhya Pradesh told  media persons that  application for meeting Akhil gogai in jail was  given on  8th nov  to the DC but no decision was taken on the application ,yesterday Executive Magistrate told us  that it’s decision of   judiciary  ,afterwards DC asked  us on phone to send us our details  through SMS , afterwards she said that as police verification will be done in ur state and we have   2days holiday so yu should contact us after 2 days  .After that I talked with home Secretary and Cheif secretary but they said that they will not interfere as it’s discretion of DM .
Dr Sunilam said that  Akhil is politically  victimized as he raised voice against  APSC scam,Drinking water scam , Big Dam s and asked Govt to publicize agreement regarding land transfer with Nagaland terrorists .
       Dr Sunilam said farmers are not getting rumerative price for their crops in Assam .5400 cr  is looted from farmers as 70 % of paddy is Market surplus   Dr sunilam  said in last 10 years 4700 farmers have committed  suicide in Assam. He also shared the the information about kisan mukti yatra carried out by  Akhil Bharatiya Kishan sangrash samanwaye samiti which travelled  ,ten thousand kms in 18 states doing  500 public making contact with more than 50 lakh farmers .He informed that tomm  on 12 th  Nov ,kisan mukti rally is organised at  Gawhati by 5 farmers organizatiins ,he said that  release Akhil Gogoi  committees will be formed at   National level . Dr Sunilam has made appeal to assam farmers to attend  kisan sansad at Delhi  in  big  numbers.

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A letter to a hunted hero- Prof G. N.Saibaba

Dear Prof G.N. Saibaba

We read the two handwritten letters you wrote to your friend P.V. Vijay Kumar in September, on the 21st and 26th, letters he felt had to be shared with the world, even a world indifferent to the injustices done to you by the state and its justice system in their now habitual disregard of the law. In a prefatory note for those of us who forget easily and wilfully, Vijay Kumar explained the likely cause of your life sentence whose illegality, as you say, has hardly been an issue for the rest of us preoccupied with living and reading, writing and publishing books, running hashtagged campaigns, never able to keep up with the surfeit of bad news that comes to us every day, every hour, every minute. As you write: ‘Homo sapiens can never stop living gregariously. The life of production, agriculture, industry, or any other is the happiest one for [the] gregariousness of humans. Life in solitude is not human.’ Marx had written in The Grundrisse, ‘The human being is in the most literal sense a political animal not merely a gregarious animal…’ You’ve been denied gregariousness but did they think the anda cell would snuff out your politics?

The world has gone near-silent on you, but we believe you have been getting some news of the world, through newspapers that make their way to you bearing rectangular cells of emptiness where free speech was literally scissored. You speak of the silencing of Perumal MuruganHansda Sowvendra Shekhar (for depicting same-sex love among Santhali women) and how when Gauri Lankesh was murdered, silence started to speak eloquently. It fertilised our imagination and yielded a fresh crop of poems, songs, and a book as you will see. Did the tattered Nagpur papers they bring you have this bit of local Delhi news: we can no longer protest at the Jantar Mantar, that contained space where at least the charade of democracy was allowed. What needs to be dismantled is all prisons, as Angela Davistells us; the anda cell designed to reduce you (and many like you) to a zero, to nothing—‘designed to make inmates crack’, as Arun Ferreira writes—needs to go first. John Berger, in his 1983 essay “The Hour of Poetry”, says: ‘Torture smashes language: its purpose is to tear language from the voice, and words from the truth. The one being tortured knows: they are breaking me. His or her resistance consists in trying to limit the me being broken.’ Berger goes on to say how, ‘Normally silence means a lack of sound. Here silence is active and has been turned, once again systematically, into an instrument, this time for torturing the heart.’

Since the men and women who swept and cleared Jantar Mantar were most likely dalits, they seem to have left Dr Ambedkar’s picture pinned to a tree (Indian Express photo)

 

Yet you speak to us resoundingly and defiantly from a place of emptiness. Words have not deserted you even after the court in Gadchiroli, disregarding all evidence, found you, along with the JNU student Hem Mishra and four others, guilty of waging war against the nation-state. It is the nation-state waging war against you. Against the adivasis, against its many people who dissent, resist.

You use the word silence in such amplified and damning ways—twenty-three times in the first letter. When VK, as you call Vijay Kumar, wonders what your literary engagements are like in the anda cell, the zero cell, the prison within the prison, you say you are ‘reading silence’. ‘This has been my literary engagement. I count all the blank spaces between word and word, and between the lines… My friend, I am measuring silence because I am silenced.’ Your letters break through many walls between your world and ours to demand of us: Are you even listening to your own silence? Are you figuring out if my prison letters are literary enough to be eventually canonised? Will all this have to wait till I die? Will you wait till then to commission a reader of my writings?

Perhaps concerned that the first letter was too literary, too abstruse, or could be seen as the ramblings of an isolated mind, you spell things out more clearly in the second, without rancour, prosaically telling us what you expect: ‘Now it is you people in the outside world, who have to take the responsibility to prove the illegality of the judgement.’ You end with: ‘My freedom is in your hands… I mean all of you.’ If we read the silences between your words and lines, each perfectly aligned with the rules on the pages, pages that say at the bottom, without irony, ‘Cellpage’, what is implicit and implicated is this: Why did #IAmGauri not become #IAmSaibaba? When all causes are subsumed by easy hashtags in our times, why is the cause of my freedom not trending, so to speak?

 

A measure of our silence

At Navayana, as we draft this letter we realise it is the 5th of November. We complete fourteen years today. A life sentence of freedom to write and publish, to hear and speak up, to dissent and to love. We have been lax though in writing newsletters to our readers that we had promised to ourselves we would do every month. We have not even offered excuses for going silent for months. Your words, that speak of measuring silence, may well have a measure of ours too. With a mixture of shame and guilt, while remaining unashamedly pragmatic when presented an opportunity, we want to tell you that we have just published (in association with DC Books, Kottayam) The Way I See It: A Gauri Lankesh Reader edited by Chandan Gowda who studied in the same university as you and Rohith Vemula. Did you know that Gauri, in one of her columns, spoke up for you—wondering how, while Salman Khan secured bail within three hours of conviction, and Jayalalithaa even managed an acquittal after being sentenced to four years of imprisonment on charges of corruption, you and many like you languish in jail for no reason?

In her distinctive way, Gauri drew our attention to the lesser known story of Vittala Malekudiya, an adivasi from the Malnad region along the Western ghats. He had protested the displacement of his people by the Kudremukh National Park. Vittala, the only youth from the Malekudiya tribe to have entered college and trained in journalism at Mangalore University, joined the forces of the Resistance, ongoing since 1987 when his people were first asked to collect a ‘compensation package’ and vacate the forests, their home for centuries. A member of the Democratic Youth Federation of India—youth wing of CPI(M)—Vittala was branded a naxal and arrested in 2012. Owing to public protests, away from the hashtags, Vittala got bail in four months, completed his degree, and appeared for the Karnataka State Public Commission exam in 2015. Then, Gauri writes: ‘Siddaramaiah’s government gave permission [in May 2015] to the police to go ahead and file a charge-sheet against Vittala and his father’ for ‘waging war against the state’ under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. The Siddaramaiah government did not try to find the killers of Kalburgi; they let Gauri be killed. It was also a Congress government that abducted you, branded you a naxal, and put you in the anda cell. And here we are, so divided, struggling to find a shared vocabulary for the evils the Hindutva-driven state has unleashed.

Poetry’s hour of failure is now.

In March 2014, soon after we published the annotated edition of Dr B.R. Ambedkar’s Annihilation of Caste with an introduction by Arundhati Roy, you had ordered a hundred copies of it for your students at Delhi University. You were out on bail for a while when this happened, and we read about how all the students in the batch, save for the one who told usthe story, avoided your optional paper on Indian English writing. We never checked with you which of the students consented to receive that copy of AoC as a gift from you. A silent boycott from society was your welcome back. For the essay Arundhati Roy wrote on your incarceration, “Professor P.O.W.”, she was hauled up by the courts for ‘criminal contempt’.

When your daughter Manjeera recently sent you a letter accompanied by a Faiz poem, the prison authorities tore up the poem thinking it must be a coded message. For once they were right. Faiz, incarcerated several times, is indeed a code for revolution, for love, for justice, for the gregarious pleasures of poetry and music. Here’s a Faiz ghazal for you. Wish you could hear this sung by Farida Khanum as the smoke from your cigarette slices through Delhi’s air toxified by power and pollution—yet free, an air toxic and intoxicating. The writer Ali Sethi, a disciple of Farida, says this haunting ghazal was ‘written from the perspective of a hunted hero. Faiz wrote this in the 1960s for his leftist friends who were being harassed, arrested, tortured and even killed by the dictatorial former Pakistan president Ayub Khan’s military government.’ Faiz, as always, speaks to his political detractors and tormentors in the language of love and poetry—a language, he complains, they barely understand. You wrote to VK, ‘I still have feelings, emotions and thoughts along with a language to express my heart’s beats to my beloved. But they are banished by the gods.’

We hope this song—that says there can be no justice without love, no love without justice—reaches you somehow.

Poetry’s hour of redemption is now.

with love

Navayana

 

Stay your blade

 

na ganwao nawak-e-neem kash dil-e-reza reza ganwa diya
jo bache hain sang samet lo, tan-e-dagh dagh luta diya

Save your half-drawn arrows, these shreds of my heart are no target anyway
Hold back the stones you didn’t cast, this broken body is dying anyway

mere charahgar ko naved ho saf-e-dushmanan ko khabar karo
wo jo qarz rakhte the jaan par, wo hisaab aaj chuka diya

Herald this news to the one who heals, and to those behind enemy lines
That this life now bears no burden of debt, I’ve squared all my dues today

karo kaj jabeen pe sar kafan mere qatilon ko gumaan na ho
keh ghuroor-e-ishq ka baankpan, pas-e-marg hum ne bhula diya

Shroud my forehead in such a way, my killers have no clue
That my rakish pride in love—in death I have cast away

udhar ek harf ke kushtani yahaan laakh uzr tha guftani
jo kaha to sun kar ura diya jo likha to parh kar mita diya

Death was decreed in a single word, my pleadings were beyond prolific
The hearing I received was unheeding, my writings were read and struck away

jo ruke to koh-e-giran the hum jo chaley to jaan se guzar gaye
reh-e-yaar hum ne qadam qadam, tujhe yaadgar bana diya

Planted there with the resolve of a mountain, budging only to die
Every step I’d traced to the beloved’s place left it memorable all the way

A letter to a hunted hero

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India – Right to privacy as right to life

MORE-IN

It is important for the courts to examine disability as a ground for the grant of bail

In the Supreme Court’s right to privacy judgment (Justice K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India), Justice D.Y. Chandrachud held: “Life and personal liberty are inalienable to human existence… The human element in the life of the individual is integrally founded on the sanctity of life… A constitutional democracy can survive when citizens have an undiluted assurance that the rule of law will protect their rights and liberties against any invasion by the state and that judicial remedies would be available to ask searching questions and expect answers when a citizen has been deprived of these most precious rights.”

Violation of right to life

In 2014, Delhi University professor G.N. Saibaba was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and held in Nagpur Central Jail till the Supreme Court granted him bail in 2016. In March 2017, he was convicted by the Gadchiroli sessions court to life imprisonment for alleged offences under the same Act, and returned to custody in the Anda cell of Nagpur Central Jail. His appeal against the conviction is pending before the High Court in Nagpur. While the grounds of his conviction are debatable, the immediate concern is regarding the question of miscarriage of justice on other grounds. Mr. Saibaba has severe disabilities and multiple related health conditions and has high support needs. Placing him in solitary confinement with no support violates his right to life, bodily integrity and autonomy under Article 21, although his conviction only imposes restraints on personal liberty. This inhuman treatment is punishment far in excess of the sentence awarded by the court.

It is now time to ask searching questions about the sentence, and appeal to the court for the application of constitutional due process so as to not endanger his right to life.

The deplorable conditions in Indian prisons are well known. It is settled law now that prisoners may be deprived of personal liberty according to procedure established by law, but that does not include a derogation of their right to dignity. The privacy Bench reiterated the words of Justice Krishna Iyer in the Prem Shankar Shukla case: “The guarantee of human dignity, which forms part of our constitutional culture, and the positive provisions of Articles 14, 19 and 21 spring into action when we realise that to manacle man is more than to mortify him; it is to dehumanise him and, therefore, to violate his very personhood, too often using the mask of ‘dangerousness’ and security…” and that the right to life cannot be restricted to mere “animal existence”. How do we begin to understand the sanctity of life, dignity and bodily integrity for a person with disabilities? If handcuffing is an extraordinary and excessive restraint on an ordinary prisoner, what constitutes excessive restraint beyond the writ of law for a person with disabilities?

Respect for diversity

The Supreme Court holds unequivocally that in adopting the Constitution, the people of India do not surrender the most precious aspects of the human persona — namely life, liberty and freedom — to the state on whose mercy these rights would depend. Each of these aspects — life, liberty and freedom — must be considered together and/or severally as the case may be. Where there is a sentence on personal liberty, the citizen does not surrender his life to the mercy of the state.

If, as the right to privacy judgment asserts, privacy “as an integral part of the right to human dignity is comprehended within the protection of life as well”, it is necessary for every court to develop a sensibility towards and understanding of what constitutes human dignity and protection of life for persons located differently in the social order. For, an important aspect of this judgment, which is now law in India, is respect for human diversity and pluralism.

Albeit with reference to a different case, the court observed that neither the fact that very few persons bear certain attributes nor the test of “popular acceptance… furnish a valid basis to disregard rights which are conferred with the sanctity of constitutional protection”. Mr. Saibaba may well be the only person in his situation. That in itself is reason for the courts to intervene actively in his favour and remove him immediately from this precarious situation of precarity and irreversible harm.

Entitled to bail

In the light of the decision of the Supreme Court on the right to privacy, particularly its comments on the Suresh Kumar Koushal judgment on Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code and the habeas corpus case, one cannot help but hope that the Nagpur High Court, in considering Mr. Saibaba’s appeal against his conviction, similarly examines the judgment and deliberates on the relationship between fact, law, popular rhetoric and proportionality therein.

Most importantly, however, it is hoped that the court examines disability as a ground for the grant of bail, as distinct from (but related to) “medical grounds”. This entails, according to the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2013, “respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy… and independence of persons” and “accessibility”. Section 2(s) of the Act defines a person with disability as “a person with long term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairment which, in interaction with barriers, hinders his full and effective participation in society equally with others.” In conditions of custody, such persons must be protected from any hindrance to the exercise of bodily integrity and autonomy with dignity — this lies at the core of his right to privacy. Unavailability of such a guarantee within custodial facilities entitles the prisoner with disabilities to bail.

Mr. Saibaba’s predicament is best described in his own words: “I am frightened to think of the coming winter… As temperature goes down excruciating pain continuously in my legs and left hand increases. It is impossible for me to survive here during the winter that starts from November… I am living here like an animal taking its last breaths. Somehow eight months I managed to survive. But I am not going to survive in the coming winter. I am sure. It is of no use to write about my health any longer…

“No one understands 90% disabled person is behind bars struggling with one hand in condition and suffering with multiple ailments. And no one cares for my life. This is simply criminal negligence, a callous attitude.” (Extract from his letter to his wife dated October 17, 2017.)

At the time of his conviction and the proceedings so far, we did not have the constitutional wisdom of the privacy Bench before us. In weighing the question of restraint on personal liberty against the risk to life, bodily integrity and dignity, the court scene in The Merchant of Venice spins into view: “Therefore prepare thee to cut off the flesh/Shed thou no blood, nor cut thou less nor more/But just a pound of flesh.” A Daniel, come to judgment.

Kalpana Kannabiran is Professor and Director, Council for Social Development, Hyderabad

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/right-to-privacy-as-right-to-life/article20005285.ece

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90% disabled Prof G . N Saibaba from Jail – ‘I am living like an animal taking its last breaths’

In Nagpur Central Jail’s ‘Anda Cell’ languishes a 90% disabled, ailing, professor, sentenced to life imprisonment for Maoist links, reports Jyoti Punwani.
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh

As the harsh Nagpur winter approaches, the inhabitants of the city’s Central Jail brace for a period of discomfort.

One among them will find it particularly hard to cope. Diagnosed with permanent post-polio paralysis of the legs, he is 90% disabled, dependent on a wheelchair and needs help to perform necessary bodily functions.

Additionally, he has high blood pressure, spinal pain and a heart problem.

Professor G N Sai Baba of Delhi University was convicted in March under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for having links with Maoists, and sentenced to life imprisonment by a sessions court in Gadchiroli.

He is currently in solitary confinement in the notorious ‘Anda Cell’.

The jail authorities have made no allowance for his disability.

They do not allow him to wear a lungi brought by his wife instead of the pyjama given by the jail, which he cannot tie as his left hand is paralysed.

Neither do they give him bland food. His inability to digest the spicy jail food has made him cut down on intake, thereby affecting his health further.

From childhood, the professor has been extra sensitive to the cold, which causes him severe muscle pain, said his brother Dr Ramdev.

In a letter to his wife Vasantha Kumari written on October 17, which she received on October 27, Professor Sai Baba writes: ‘Already I am shivering with continuous fever. I do not have a blanket. I do not have a sweater/jacket. As temperature goes down excruciating pain continuously in my legs and left hand increases. I am living here like an animal taking its last breaths.’

On Saturday, October 28, the jail authorities finally agreed to give him a small blanket brought by Dr Ramdev, after twice declining one brought by Vasantha and again by his lawyers.

While the authorities refuse to provide him any attendant, two Adivasis who were also convicted along with him, are voluntarily helping him.

When he was sentenced in March, Professor Sai Baba had just emerged from the ICU in a Delhi hospital and was due for pancreatic surgery in three weeks.

The doctors had then said that a delay in surgery would cause infection in his pancreas.

A recent report by the Nagpur Government Medical College and Hospital showed stones in Professor Sai Baba’s kidneys and gall bladder. No treatment, however, is being given to him.

His brother said that the medicines they bring for him were prescribed in March and may not be appropriate for his present ailment.

In his letter, Professor Sai Baba has complained that lifesaving medicines supplied by his family are not given to him regularly, hence he frequently becomes unconscious.

Every trip to the hospital is excruciatingly painful for Professor Sai Baba.

According to his wife, the jail authorities do not provide a vehicle with a low chassis, and the security guards accompanying him lift him roughly in and out of the vehicle.

In the hospital too, there are no attendants for him.

Now, he has refused to go to the hospital unless the authorities inform his lawyers whenever he is taken there, so that a family member can accompany him.

The Government Hospital where he is taken had treated him during his earlier stints in jail as an undertrial.

The hospital had then given in writing that they did not have the facilities to treat him and that he should be treated in a super speciality hospital like AIIMS.

Professor Sai Baba was first arrested in May 2014 and spent 14 months in Nagpur Jail before being released on bail on medical grounds by the Bombay high court, after the sessions court had denied him bail.

In December 2015, the sessions court ordered that he be arrested again. This time, he had to go to the Supreme Court for bail, which he got after three months.

When he was first arrested, he could move around on his own on his wheelchair. Both his stints in jail worsened his health and his mobility, making him totally dependent on others.

All his time outside jail was spent in and out of hospitals.

A known opponent of the Centre’s policies in Bastar, where tribals are being forced to give up their land and forests so that corporations can use the area’s mineral resources, Professor Sai Baba was convicted on the basis of evidence found on his computer.

However, said his wife, his computer and other material from his house were taken away in an open bag, not a sealed one, as per rules.

The appeal against his conviction has yet to come up for hearing.

In an earlier interview with Rediff.com, Vasantha had said that her husband had turned down two offers by the police to compromise and be set free by signing on some papers, the contents of which he did not know.

The professor had told Rediff.com, on being asked whether he would stop fighting for Adivasi rights after his two jail experiences: “How can any democratic-minded person not speak out against the genocide of Adivasis? How can we be silent when we see millions of Adivasis being displaced? Do we have a choice whether to speak or not?”

His family — wife, college going daughter and old mother — survive on the half-salary he continues to receive from his college, and on donations by his friends and colleagues.

Says Vasantha: “I have visited him only thrice in these eight months. In prison, we get permission only to talk on the phone to each other for 15 minutes. Between us are an iron grill and a stained, dirty fibre glass barrier.”

“Beyond these, all I can see is a shadowy figure in a wheelchair. It’s not just us; the families of all convicts face this. We all come from very far to meet our family members, and such meetings leave both sides traumatised.”

https://m.rediff.com/news/special/i-am-living-like-an-animal-taking-its-last-breaths/20171101.htm

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Journalists’ bodies express deep concern over arrest of scribe Vinod Verma

Row over Journalist arrest over Chhattisgarh minister’s ‘sex CD’

NEW DELHI/ GHAZIABAD/ RAIPUR

vinod verma

 

SEVERAL JOURNALISTS’ BODIES including Press Club of India, Indian Women’s Press Corps, Federation of Press Clubs in India and Press Association have expressed deep concern over the arrest of senior journalist Vinod Verma. They are particularly aghast over the manner in which senior journalist was picked up by the Uttar Pradesh police in the early hours of October 27 on charges filed by the Chattisgarh police.

“The manner in which the arrest was done is shocking as Verma was not evading the arms of the law and neither was he absconding. The move by the state government appears to be intimidating and does not serve the course of justice. We urge a dispassionate and fair inquiry be conducted into the charges without any kind of pressure or harassment of Vinod Verma or his family” “ journalist bodies said in a statement.
Vindo Verma was arrested from his house in Indirapuram locality of Ghaziabad early on Friday for being part of an alleged conspiracy to extort money from a prominent Chhattisgarh minister triggered a slugfest between Congress and BJP.

Vinod Verma, formerly with BBC Hindi and Amar Ujala, who is now associated with Congress’s media cell, was picked up from his house around 4 am. He rejected the extortion charge and said he had a “sex clip” of PWD minister Rajesh Munat, which he wanted to release shortly.

BJP threw its lot behind Munat, claiming that the purported sex clip was fake and rejected the demand for the minister’s resignation. Munat, a prominent BJP face and a trusted associate of Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh, himself stepped out to claim that he was victim of a conspiracy to slander his reputation. “It is doctored, cent per cent fake, and a clear attempt at character assassination,” he told media.

Police in Raipur said Verma was arrested following a complaint about an extortion call to Prakash Bajaj, member of Chhattisgarh BJP’s IT cell.

The police is yet to identify the caller. They have not gone through the contents of the sex CD either. Yet, they moved with speed and within 12 hours of filing of the complaint at Pandari police station in Chhattisgarh on Thursday, the police had zeroed in on the shopkeeper in Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar who was allegedly given the order to make 1,000 copies of the CD. The shopkeeper directed the Chhattisgarh cops to Verma, who was picked up on Friday.

The police team claimed to have seized around 500 CDs, pen drives, a laptop, two cellphones and a diary, besides Rs 2.24 lakh in cash from the house of Verma, who is related to Chhattisgarh Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel.

“During investigation, it was found that a person named Vinod Verma had asked the shopowner to make 1,000 copies of the CD. His number was traced and his address found. A police team raided his residence at Indirapuram and arrested him, seizing 500 CDs, pen drives, laptop and cash,” Chhattisgarh police said.

Verma denied making an extortion call or asking the Lajpat Nagar shopkeeper to make copies of the Chhattisgarh minister’s CD but admitted that he had the sex clip allegedly featuring Munat stored on his laptop and a pen drive. He said he decided to circulate the CD after four media outlets he had approached refused to run it, adding that Chhattisgarh police arrested him to pre-empt the release.

“My phone was being tapped and police swung into action at the behest of the minister and arrested me before I could reveal the contents of the clip. I have not made a single extortion call to anyone. I am being framed,” he said, adding that the police had planted CDs in his house.

Verma claimed that Munat’s case was just “the tip of the iceberg” and added that sex CDs of eight more politicians of the ruling party existed. He said the purported CD of the Chhattisgarh minister was a minute long, and a truncated 31-second version had been in circulation among politicians in the state for some time. He said he got a copy of the clip only on October 24.

Chhattisgarh PCC chief Bhupesh Baghel defended Verma and said merely having a copy of the sex CD didn’t make him an accused. “The government has taken extraordinary interest in arresting a senior journalist within hours of the complaint being lodged. Why doesn’t it show similar interest in other things?” he asked.

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DU Prof Saibaba’s Letter From Jail: “I Do Not Think I Will Survive This Winter”

Dr G.N.Saibaba Professor at Delhi University and now in solitary confinement in Nagpur Central Jail has spoken out for help. Disabled, he has been branded a Maoist and sentenced to life imprisonment. The sentencing has been controversial with many who supported and defended the Professor insisting that he has been persecuted by governments for raising a voice against paramilitary operations in the primarily tribal Adivasi belts of central and eastern India.

The government has not entertained these arguments, and nor have the courts, with THE Professor, 90 per cent disabled and suffering from multiple ailments, himself writing in this letter to his wife Vasantha that he might not be able to survive the winter months in jail. He has been convicted under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in what those convinced of his innocence describe as a travesty of justice.

The letter was written on October 17 and received by his wife on October 25. It reads as follows:

Dear Vasantha

I am frightened to think of coming winter. Already I am shivering with continuous fever. I do not have a blanket. I do not have a sweater/jacket. As temperature goes down excruciating pain continuously in my legs and left hand increases. It is impossible for me to survive here during the winter that starts from November.

I am living here like an animal taking its last breaths. Somehow 8 months I managed to survive. But I am not going to survive in the coming winter. I am sure. It is of no use to write about my health any longer.

In any case, please finalize the senior counsel by or before the end of this month. Then inform Mr. Gadling to file my bail application in the first week of November or last week of October itself. You remember if this is not done in this way, my situation will be out of hands. I am not responsible. I am making clear to you. Hereafter I am not going to write about it any longer.

You should talk to Mrs Rebeccaji and Nandita Narain. You also talk to Prof. Haragopal and others. Explain the entire situation. You need to hurry up.

I am feeling so depressed for requesting you all so many times like a beggar, a destitute. But none of you are moving an inch, no one understand my present condition. No one understands 90% disabled person is behind bars struggling with one hand in condition and suffering with multiple ailments. And no one cares for my life. This is simply criminal negligence, a callous attitude.

Please take care of your health. Your health is my health and entire family’s health. There is no one else to take care of your health for now. Till I am in your presence, you have to take care of your health without any negligence.

Lots of love

Yours

Sai

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Ex-BBC journalist Vinod Verma arrested -Being framed since I have sex video of minister Rajesh Munat, police planted CD

FIR filed by Prakash Bajaj alleges he had been receiving numerous calls in which Verma blackmailed and threatened him over alleged sex video of a Chhattisgarh minister.

Peeyush Khandelwal
Hindustan Times, Ghaziabad
Senior journalist Vinod Verma was arrested on extortion charges by the Chhattisgarh Police on Friday morning.
Senior journalist Vinod Verma was arrested on extortion charges by the Chhattisgarh Police on Friday morning.(Twitter)

The arrest of former BBC journalist Vinod Vermaby the Chhattisgarh police from his residence in Indirapuram in Ghaziabad early Friday on allegations of attempted extortion on the basis of an alleged sex CD involving a Chhattisgarh minister has snowballed into a slugfest between the BJP and the Congress.

Verma was allegedly in possession of a CD showing the minister in a compromising position with a woman, police said. Verma, a member of the Editors’ Guild of India, has formerly worked for BBC and Amar Ujala.

The journalist who has been booked under sections 384 and 506 of the Indian penal code (IPC) for extortion and intimidation, rubbished the police’s claims that he had a sex CD.

“Someone gave me a 1 minute 31 seconds clip on a pen drive on October 24 and as a back-up I saved it on my laptop…. The police have planted the CD on me. It is a political conspiracy of framing me in a false case and arresting me since I am looking after the social media campaign of Congress Party in Chhattisgarh. ,” Vinod Verma told Hindustan Times.

Rajesh Munat, Chhatisgarh PWD minister in the eye of the storm, said the video is fake.

“The sex CD is fake. I appeal to the CM to get this investigated from any agency. I condemn this,” ANI quoted Munat as saying.

Verma’s arrest barely 12 hours after a complaint was lodged at the Pandari police station in Chhatisgarh’s Raipur district by the BJP’s state working committee member Prakash Bajaj on Thursday, drew fire from the Congress.

Chhattisgarh state Congress president, Bhupesh Baghel told HT on phone from Raipur that Verma had been training Congress workers on social media for about a year as a consultant. He also admitted that Verma was his distant relative.

 

“The clipping shows a powerful minister in compromising position with a woman. The clip is clear and the police must find out who the persons are. The clips have been circulated on social media for nearly a month now. Initially, the clips came in duration of 16 seconds or so and late of around 1.30 minutes,” Baghel told HT.

“Since the clip is on social media, it is available with everyone, including me and maybe with Verma. Why only Verma is targeted in such a case? He is a senior journalist and has never been into any such activities like extortion as alleged. We know who is there in the clip but police must find out and get forensic examination done. We condemn Verma’s arrest,” he added.

He added that the arrest came even before he could get the clip verified through a forensic lab and would have released it after examination confirmed it to be genuine. Baghel also claimed that Bajaj is associated with the social media cell of the BJP in Chhattisgarh

“The team of Chhattisgarh police raided Verma’s residence around 3.30am on Friday and claimed recoveries of nearly 500 CDs containing pornographic material,” police officers from Indirapuram in Ghaziabad said on condition of anonymity.

The officials confirmed the arrest made by the team from Chattisgarh and said that Verma will be taken to Ghaziabad court where he will be produced before a magistrate for obtaining a transit remand to take him back to Chattisgarh.

“There were nine people who arrived in civil clothes and forced us to open the main door of the flat. They said they wanted to carry out a search. Once they entered, they searched every room and took possession of my husband’s mobile phones, his laptop and bag. Later, they said that he is being taken to Indirapuram police station for questioning,” said Verma’s wife

“It is utterly disgraceful that police arrived without any documents and did not allow us to speak. The police from Ghaziabad and Chhattisgarh came with society’s guard and walked away taking my husband,” she added.

Hours after Verma’s arrest, Chhattisgarh’s Inspector General of Police, Pradeep Gupta addressed reporters in Raipur.

“An FIR was registered on 2pm yesterday. The FIR did not name Vinod Verma as accused. But the CDs have been found in possession of Verma. We are obtaining his remand to bring him to Raipur,” the officer said.

“Prakash Bajaj gave us a complaint claiming that someone called his landline number and threatened him to release a pornographic CD of his boss,” Gupta said.

The call was traced to the shop in Delhi which was raided. Verma is said to have ordered the reprints of the CD, Gupta said.

“We don’t know whether the call was made by Verma or someone else. It is a matter of further investigation,” Gupta said in the press conference.

The sources added that Verma and two other journalists, in March, 2016, were also members of a fact finding committee to assess the arrests of journalists in Chhattisgarh and challenges faced by them in the state.

Former journalist and AAP leader, Ashutosh, termed it as attack on press and tweeted from his twitter handle @ashutosh83B, “Vinod Verma Ex BBC n Amar Ujala Digital Editor has been picked up most mysteriously by UP N Chhatttisgarh Police 3.30am. Attack on press?”

Replying to the Ashutosh, @Uppolice (Uttar Pradesh police) tweeted, “@ashutosh83B-He’s arrested by Chattisgarh police in a case of extortion registered at P.S.Pandri, distt Raipur.(Cr no 340/17,U/S 384 506 IPC).”

After the backlash following Verma’s arrest, BJP spokesperson in Chhattisgarh Shrichand Sundarni refuted at the claims about the alleged CD and accused the Congress of conspiracy.

“These controversies do not affect BJP. The party is ready for any probe into the matter,” Sundarani said.

Bajaj was unavailable for comment when HT tried to contact him.

(With inputs from Ritesh Mishra in Raipur and ANI)

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/chhattisgarh-govt-not-happy-with-me-arrested-journalist-vinod-verma-says-he-s-being-framed/story-JPnG6kh6MF1lTzje3oQr0L.html

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Rejected Afzal Guru’s mercy plea on government’s advice: Pranab Mukherjee

Former president Pranab Mukherjee, who is against the continuation of the death sentence, also insisted that it was for lawmakers to amend the law and abolish capital punishment, which is in the Indian Penal Code.

Speaking about Kashmir, former President Pranab Mukherjee said the situation “definitely requires undivided attention” of all those concerned.
Speaking about Kashmir, former President Pranab Mukherjee said the situation “definitely requires undivided attention” of all those concerned.(PTI File Photo)

Former president Pranab Mukherjee said on Friday he rejected Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru’s mercy petition on advice from the government as he could not have assumed the role of the court which had already considered the death sentence at various stages.

Mukherjee, who is against the continuation of the death sentence, also insisted that it was for lawmakers to amend the law and abolish capital punishment, which is in the Indian Penal Code. During his tenure from 2012 to 2017, Mukherjee rejected 30 mercy pleas.

“Before a mercy petition comes to the President, it passes through various stages and different actions had already been taken. The President goes by the advice of the government,” he told HT in an interview.

“If the government advises rejection of the mercy petition, the President naturally will go by that. The President cannot assume the role of the court which had already considered the death sentence at various stages.”

A trial court sentenced Afzal, then studying medicine, to death on December 18, 2002, for his role in the terror attack on Parliament on December 13, 2001.

The Delhi high court later confirmed the sentence, which was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2004. The sentence was to be carried out on October 20, 2006 in Delhi’s Tihar Jail, but a mercy petition by the family to the President stayed it. Guru was finally hanged in Tihar Jail on February 9, 2013 after Mukherjee rejected his mercy petition on February 3 that year.

“I did not believe in keeping the files without taking any action. I disposed them off and accepted the government’s recommendations to reject mercy petitions except in 1 or 2 cases where I discussed with the then home minister and both of us agreed on commuting the death sentence. Rest all, I confirmed,” he said.

Speaking about Kashmir, he said the situation “definitely requires undivided attention” of all those concerned. “We were able to manage the situation during UPA-I and UPA-II. Similarly, this government is also making efforts. Let us see how the situation develops and how problems are resolved.”

“More than often the secessionist elements take advantage by constantly launching agitations but we shall have to resolve the issue with the cooperation of the people and the government in Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.

Asked about the revival of Congress, he said the party has the “capacity to face the situation, tackle adversities and come out with ideas and principles”.

“…whenever there is crisis the party had the capacity to overcome that. I have no doubt that Rahul Gandhi and other Congress leaders and workers will be able to overcome the crisis and Congress will play its own role.”

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/rejected-afzal-guru-s-mercy-plea-on-government-s-advice-pranab-mukherjee/story-8Y6pgE86jbtQz4kk3OoKPL.html

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