Kobad Ghandy’s Request for Urgent Appeal to Release him on Bail
Mainstream, VOL LIII No 49 New Delhi November 28, 2015
Kobad Ghandy wrote the following note on November 10, 2015 and sent it to us for publication in Mainstream at the earliest. It reached us on November 21, 2015. We are publishing it without delay in our latest issue with the hope that readers will urgently respond to his request. —Editor
Just today, in response to an RTI, I was sent a copy of the Jharkhand FIR. It seems, after my arrest in 2009, my name was added to this case which says a mob of about 500 unknown persons attacked a police camp in Bokaro in 2007. This is the first time I have heard about this attack, let alone be a part of it. That I have never been to Bokaro/Jharkhand in my life is another matter. No FIR was put against me when the incident occurred. And now the Jharkhand Police comes to arrest me nine years after the incident.
In Andhra Pradesh the police resorted to the method of making out a fake confession (in Telugu, a language I do not know), and on that basis adding my name to about 15 cases from the 1990s to 2005. No such ‘confession’ is even pretended to by the Jharkhand Police to add my name to this case. The legality of this is ques-tionable.
The same is about the West Bengal case (I have not yet received the FIR) and the Patiala and Surat cases. In the Patiala case, two persons apparently saw an unknown person giving an ‘inflammatory’ speech on the grounds of Punjab Univerity (they don’t mention the language and I don’t know Punjabi) while on their morning walk. At that time no FIR was put against any ‘unknown’ person. But an FIR was put against me in February 2010, five months after I had been in Tihar. Yet, without any evidence and mere hearsay serious charges have been put.
And because the Delhi LG has put 268 on me, I cannot attend these cases till the Delhi case is over, taking away my constitutional right to speedy trials. None of these cases has even begun after six years in jail.
Now, once the Delhi case is over, I will have to face serial trials—and that too at the age of 69 with serious heart, kidney and arthiritus problems. The cardiologist seriously considered I may need a pace-maker if my pulse continued to drop below 40.
Though the Delhi trial is nearing its end, the learned judge, in September 2015, considered my health conditions so serious as to grant me three months interim bail. Let alone avail of this bail to get proper treatment (impossible in jail), I will now be taken from one court/jail to another all over the country, which is nothing but an atempt to kill me.
Given that all the above ‘cases’ (except the one in Delhi) have questionable legal norms, and given that I have been denied my constitutional right to speedy trials, and, most importantly, given my age and failing health, I request that an appeal be sent out urgently to the government to release me on bail on health/humanitarian grounds.
Please consider this as urgent.
Tihar Jail 3
High Risk Ward