Former Delhi University (DU) professor GN Saibaba, who is serving a life sentence in Nagpur Jail for Maoist links, plans to go on an indefinite hunger strike to protest the installation of a CCTV camera which allegedly captures footage of the entire cell, including the toilet and bathing area.
His wife, AS Vasantha Kumari, and brother, Dr G Ramadevudu, haver written to the Maharashtra home minister seeking recourse.
"He cannot use the toilet for urinals or cannot even take a bath before the camera, as the camera records video of everything 24X7 hours. Now how can Dr GN Saibaba live in these circumstances?" the letter said.
"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."AS Vasantha Kumari, Dr G Ramadevudu
The letter also alleged that the authorities refused to provide him with a plastic water bottle. "His hands are not working due to shoulder muscle
damage; hence he cannot lift the thermos (steel)."
'Denied Medical Attention'
The wheelchair-bound professor was first arrested in 2013, and then in May 2014 from his Delhi residence for alleged links with Maoists. The police had reportedly found ‘incriminating evidence,’ including documents, hard disks, and pen drives.
According to his wife, Saibaba faces several health issues in jail and frequently falls unconscious but hasn't been provided proper medical attention.
His ailments allegedly include heart issues, hypertension, paraplegia, kyphoscoliosis of the spine, anterior horn cell disease, acute pancreatitis as well as a cyst in the brain.
Saibaba had tested positive for COVID-19 in January 2022 and his wife appealed to the authorities to shift the jailed scholar to a hospital. This request wasn't accepted. He had also tested positive in 2021.
“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," the letter said.
Saibaba was convicted by a court in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli for links with Maoists and participating in activities that amounted to "waging war against the country." He earlier taught English at Ram Lal Anand College.