Convicted former Delhi University (DU) professor G N Saibaba who is serving a life sentence for Maoist links in Nagpur has threatened to go on an indefinite hunger strike inside his jail cell in protest against the installation of a CCTV camera which allegedly captures footage of the toilet and bathing area. His wife and brother wrote to the Maharashtra Home Minister on Saturday seeking the removal of the CCTV camera.
Saibaba is currently incarcerated in Nagpur Central Prison. Earlier, his advocate had alleged that the prison authorities had denied him a plastic water bottle.
In their letter on Saturday, Saibaba’s wife Vasantha Kumari and brother G Ramadevudu wrote, “On Tuesday (10.05.2022), the jail authorities fixed a wide-angle CCTV camera in front of his anda cell that can capture video of the entire cell including, toilet seat, bathing place, and everything in the small cell. So, he cannot use the toilet for urinals or cannot even take a bath before the camera, as the camera records video of everything 24×7 hours. Now how can Dr G N Saibaba live in these circumstances?”
“The helpers are also intimidated by the closely watching camera since their bodies are constantly exposed to the eye of the camera. This is clearly to intimidate and insult him. This is a means to violate his privacy. His right to privacy, life and liberty is at risk because he cannot use the toilet, or take bath, or change clothes in front of a camera that’s not only running 24 hours but also recording everything and watched constantly in the office of the Jail superintendent,” they wrote.
His family said prisoners were “entitled to all constitutional rights except the right to mobility and a few others”.
“Under these strain conditions, he has decided to go on a hunger strike indefinitely till death or (till) the camera is removed, and the responsible prison administrators apologize for knowingly and brutally violating natural body rights and the rights provided by the constitution. Dr G N Saibaba is planning to start his hunger strike within two days in the Nagpur Central Jail,” the letter said.
Saibaba, they added, already suffers from various ailments including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (heart issue), hypertension, paraplegia, kyphoscoliosis of the spine, anterior horn cell disease, acute pancreatitis as well as a cyst in the brain.
“We, request your kind self to take immediate action and provide him privacy, dignity and instruct the persons concerned in the Nagpur Central Jail to remove CCTV cameras that are keeping his privacy at stake and provide him required proper diagnosis and treatment for all his health issues immediately. As per his eligibility, grant parole and enable him to get proper medication and required medical support which is not available at Nagpur,” they wrote.