Arrested DU prof to go on hunger strike

Arrested DU prof to go on hunger strike

Arrested DU prof to go on hunger strike

Wheel-chair-bound Delhi University professor G N Saibaba, who was arrested for his alleged links with Maoists, has threatened to go on a hunger strike in Nagpur jail in protest against his “solitary confinement” and for not providing him basic facilities like medical attention.

His wife, A S Vasantha, said that Saibaba’s brother Ramdev met the professor in Nagpur jail. Saibaba told his brother that he was kept in a “highly unsanitary, solitary and totally dark” cell and that he was not being provided medicines prescribed by the jail doctor.

“Saibaba told his brother that he will go on hunger strike from tomorrow (Thursday) if his demands are not met,” she told a press conference organised by Delhi University Community Against Police Repression here.

Saibaba was arrested on May 9 from the university campus in a hush-hush operation, which evoked strong criticism from the intelligentsia and the university community.

Vasantha, who was flanked by Delhi University teachers and activists, including former chief justice of the Delhi High Court Justice Rajinder Sachar, said Saibaba was in a bad condition as he is a heart patient who is also suffering from severe spinal problem. Saibaba’s supporters said he was incarcerated “not because of any criminal action but for his pro-people views.”

Vasantha said: “He is physically challenged and cannot move on his own. He has no helper, no medicines. He cannot even use the washroom. He demanded two assistants to help him carry out his daily activities. He also needs medicines and the jail doctor himself has directed the police to provide such medicines. He should also be kept in a barrack along with other inmates.”

It was physically impossible for someone with 90 per cent disability to move around let alone do anything in a “dark, cramped space like the cell” in which Saibaba is lodged, she added. However, she wondered why he was arrested when he was cooperating with the probe and why bail was not granted to him by the court after seeing his condition.

The couple were cooperating with the probe and had even informed the investigating officer from the Gadchiroli Police about his new mobile number when he changed it. She said he was ready to face trial but there was no need for the arrest.