The National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD) condemns the insensitive manner in which the governments at the centre and Maharashtra are dealing with jailed human rights activists.
Particularly deplorable is the handling of prisoners like Prof. G.N. Saibaba, violating all international conventions, as also domestic laws like the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, prison manuals etc. A person with 90 per cent disability, Dr. Saibaba has 19 serious health conditions, some of which are life threatening. He has a compromised immune system combined with high blood pressure to name a few. His disability is caused by a combination of polio which has affected both his legs acquired in childhood years, as well as progressive and incurable conditions of the spine and nervous system. According to his wife, both his arms are now paralysed and non-functional – one due to injuries inflicted during his arrest by the police and other because of denial of 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 anda cell.
Given the utterly deplorable conditions and overcrowding in the Nagpur Central Jail, were many guards and prisoners (one even close to his cell) have been infected with the dreaded Covid-19, there is every possibility that he may get catch the virus. This may prove dangerous given his co-morbidities. Saibaba also requires immediate hospitalisation to get treated for various other health conditions, which he is being currently denied.
Given these circumstances, we demand upon the Central & Maharashtra governments to release him on bail immediately for facilitating his treatment at a facility of his choice.