By: Ardhra Nair
Ten days after a sessions court ordered that Prof G N Saibaba, a Delhi University professor lodged in Nagpur Central Prison since May last year, be given a disabled-friendly bed and three more assistants, the prison officials are yet to implement the order. The professor, arrested for his alleged Maoist links, is paralysed below neck and cannot move without help.
On May 20, during a hearing via video conference, Saibaba had told sessions judge D R Shirasao that due to his ailment he was unable to stay in the concrete Anda cell and that he needed three more assistants along with a bed that suited his ailment.
The judge then ordered him to be shifted to a cooler room with a western commode. He also directed the jail superintendent to provide three more assistants.
“However, nothing had happened,” said Surendra Gadling, a lawyer representing the professor. “On Saturday, one of our lawyers met him and none of the directives of the judge has been followed. This is really unfortunate. The person cannot move at all without help. He requires a different bed and a western commode both of which are not available at present. Even the helpers provided to him are co-accused who are voluntarily helping him. But the jail officials are supposed to give him people for assistance which again is not happening,” said Gadling.
“His bail plea will be heard in the court on Monday,” he added.
Yogesh Desai, Superintendent, Nagpur Central Prison, said: “Currently we are letting two people stay with him. This itself is a crowd. Allowing another three will make it extremely crowded. We will be talking to the Chief Medical Officer of the prison and will take appropriate steps. As far as moving him out of Anda cell is concerned, there are security measures to be considered and that will not be possible as of now.”
On May 12, five Rajya Sabha MPs-Neeraj Shekhar (Samajwadi Party), D Raja (CPI), Rapolu Anand Bhaskar (INC), K Keshavrao (TRS) and Ritabrata Banerjee (CPM)-had written a letter to Home Minister Rajnath Singh asking for his help to get bail for Saibaba. The letter said that abduction of the professor by Maharashtra police on May 9, 2014 and confinement in a jail since then without bail or trial is causing great distress in democratic and academic circles.