LAWYER of Delhi University (DU) professor G N Saibaba, lodged in the Central Prison here for the past three years after conviction by a Gadchiroli court, has accused the jail authorities of denying him basic winter provisions like woollen cap along with a few other things including wrist weight cuff meant for regular physiotherapy.
In a letter written to Jail Superintendent Anup Kumre, lawyer Akash Sorde has also accused the jail authorities of “rudeness, disregard and complete insensitivity” in denying basic courtesies to him when he approaches them to hand over the listed items to be delivered to Saibaba.
Alleging that several essentials he had taken for his client were returned by the jail authorities, Sorde said, “You have even refused to accept woollen cap/monkey cap, napkin, handkerchief, towel, and white T-shirt, while you accepted underwear and loin cloth only. Given the bone chilling cold that whole of Nagpur is facing, I fail to understand how else do you expect my client to save himself from the cold.”
“I myself on instructions of my client and on humanitarian consideration came with the articles so as to hand it over to your staff after thorough security checks to Prof Saibaba, who you know is differently-abled and wheelchair-bound with multiple progressive diseases.
“Despite having provided everything along with the catalogue, on your command, your staff refused to accept materials which are neither security threat nor pose any danger of contacting or transmitting Covid-19,” Sorde said, adding, “on demanding reasons for the same, your officials chose not to give any written reasons but offered to tick mark the item on copy of my list, thereby indicating which of the items will be taken and later on given to my client. The items that your officers have rejected form essential medical necessities, stationary for writing and material required for intellectual pursuits.”
Sorde has listed three books, “a treatise on the Constitution of India by Gautam Bhatia, an English translation of Tamil bestseller titled as AMMA, which as even name suggests is about a woman who toiled hard in her life to raise her children and a novel by Mirza Wahid about a doctor who composes his thoughts to write in letter to his daughter, wherein he aims to “Tell Her Everything”.
He further said, “you for no conceivable reasons even refused to accept blank white seal-packed 200 pages, notepad, edition of India Today magazine. My client being a scholar and noted intellectual, would have used the same for taking notes or writing letters which you meticulously scan and sensor when necessary, before they go out. In any case they posed no security threat.”
Sorde further accused the jail authorities of “not returning” the items “not tick-marked” by the jail authorities for handing over to his client. “Of all, I am more concerned about the wrist weight cuff/medical hand weight of 1 kg which he needs as part of his physiotherapy mandate. You are aware that he has progressive degeneration of the nerves because of which he was advised regular assisted physiotherapy in order to ensure that he will not lose control over his only functional arm. While you have got medical experts to put him on self-exercise as against assisted exercise, denying this instrument will only add into his misery. I hope sense will prevail over you on this count and you will allow him to use the equipment.”
Jail Superintendent Anup Kumre told The Indian Express, “The accusations raised by Saibaba’s lawyer are not true. We provide him everything as per jail manual. As regards woollen cap, he already has winterwear. The question of physiotherapy material doesn’t arise since we are providing him all that doctors have prescribed. The books sought to be provided to him has been sent for approval to the Naxal Cell of the state police. Only after their approval, they can be allowed. Saibaba is not an ordinary inmate. So, we have to follow certain guidelines.”