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Nagpur Prison like Abu Ghraib: says DU prof G N Saibaba on bail after 419 days

Delhi University professor G N Saibaba was on Friday released from Nagpur Central Jail, 59 weeks and six days after his arrest on charges of being a top Naxal leader of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).Suffering from 90% disability, Saibaba was granted bail by a bench of the Bombay HC to seek treatment for a degenerative spine disease and other neurological ailments.A relieved Saibaba, along with wife Vasantha and a team of lawyers, took a brief break at the residence of a local activist before boarding a Delhi-bound flight. While highlighting the torture of inmates, he compared the Nagpur Central Jail to Iraq‘s Abu Ghraib.Saibaba said educated and learned people have got alienated from the masses and their grievances, which are highlighted by Maoist ideology . “My education and learning has helped me develop a vision to work for the weaker sections of the society , strive for masses and work for the poor segments. The socie ty cannot equate me with a terrorist or attribute any such lowly label for that,“ said Saibaba. “Today , I can value the significance of freedom more while stepping out of custody after 14 months,“ he said. He refrained from making any comment on the case, saying his lawyers would present his side before the court. “I have been granted bail for treatment and cannot comment on the case,“ he said.

“Systemic violence has been stepped up by the state. Violence by any group is the manifestation of the aggression imbibed in the system itself.Unless the systemic violence is ended, no violence can stop. I want to put a stop to that violence,“ said Saibaba. Missing his classroom and students, he said a majority of the jail inmates are Dalits, Muslims and OBCs, common men slapped with trivial offences. There are only a few gangsters and negligible numbers from upper castes. “Many tribal people are being thrown behind bars after being labelled as Naxals. Those people are languishing behind bars without trial or respect for their rights,“ said Saibaba.

Saibaba, who claimed to be missing his classroom and students, said that the majority of the inmates in jail are Dalit, Muslims and other backward classes, common men slapped with trivial offences. There are only a few gangsters and negligible numbers from upper castes. “Many tribal people are being thrown behind bars after being labelled as Naxals. Those people are languishing behind bars without trial or respect for their rights,” said Saibaba.

He said that he too suffered without trial in custody for fighting for the democratic rights of the people. “It is these poor tribals who looked after me and my needs in the jail,” said the professor, who also taught English to the inmates.

“The government had wanted to know the solution of the grievances of the tribals around three years ago. I had forwarded a simple solution of implementing the fifth schedule of the Constitution in toto, which will bring an end to all problems of the tribals. Even today, I want the government to ensure that the constitutional provisions are implemented to give the tribal their rights over their lands and forest,” he said.

Saibaba, while highlighting the torture of the inmates, compared Nagpur Central Jail to Iraq’s Abu Ghraib to highlight its torture. “The jail administration did not physically torture me but their ruthlessness with others after the jail break episode was sickening. They even ignored state chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’s instructions not to thrash a man from whom a mobile phone was recovered during the visit of the politician,” said Saibaba.

http://epaperbeta.timesofindia.com/index.aspx?eid=31804&dt=20150704#

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