‘He May Die at Any Moment': Atiq-ur-Rehman’s Plea Moved in Allahabad HC
It’s been more than two months since Rehman’s health aggravated, but he has not been admitted to the AIIMS.
Stating that the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA)-accused Atiq-ur Rehman “may die at any moment,” his father-in-law Shakhavat Kha moved the Allahabad High Court on Thursday, 18 November, seeking an urgent hearing and Rehman’s admission to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) hospital in Delhi.
Rehman, who was arrested along with Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan en route to Hathras in 2020, suffers from a congenital heart condition called aortic regurgitation. At the time of his arrest, the 26-year-old was receiving treatment for his heart condition.
He is presently lodged in the Mathura jail hospital. Rehman has also been book under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Shakhavat Kha has stated in the petition that Rehman has been detained in unlawful judicial custody since 5 October 2020, keeping him “deprived of proper care and medical facilities suited to his health situation, which has aggravated his medical condition to such extent that he may die at any moment.”
Timeline of Court Proceedings and Rehman’s Deteriorating Health
Rehman had fallen sick while he was being taken to the PMLA court for a hearing on 23 September this year. He was thereby taken to a community health centre, from where he was shifted to the district hospital in Agra and then to the SN Medical College. The doctors had thereby referred him to a higher centre (SGPGI, Lucknow or AIIMS, Delhi), but according to Times of India, authorities took him back to jail instead.
The Special Court PMLA, Lucknow had then called for a report regarding Rehman’s medical condition.
The Office of the Superintendent of Jail submitted the report on 11 October, which stated that Rehman had been advised surgical intervention (Bentall procedure) by experts from the AIIMS.
Further, the report stated that Rs 2 lakh for the surgery had been asked from the Director General of Police Uttar Pradesh. Once received, the applicant was to be sent to the AIIMS.
Following the PMLA court’s instructions on 12 October, the DG Prisons, Uttar Pradesh, issued an order for him to be taken to the AIIMS. The jail superintendent told Times of India,
“The order has been issued but its written copy is yet to be received. We will send him there as soon as we get the order, which should be by Thursday and Friday.”
However, it’s been more than a month since, and nearly two months since Rehman’s health aggravated, but he has not been taken to AIIMS.
What Does the Petition Say?
The petition says that Rehman, prior to his arrest while en route to Hathras, to meet the bereaved family of the gang rape victim, had somehow collected the money for his treatment and surgery as advised by the doctors and experts of the AIIMS.
The petition adds,
“Despite clear directions of the Hon’ble Special Court PMLA, Lucknow, and about two months having rolled down since the aggravated breakdown of his health the State and Jail Authorities have hardly paid any heed to his fatal ailment, keeping him devoid of the proper medical care, treatment and facilities, and have shown nothing but indifference, insensibility, barbarism and apathy towards his hapless and mortal condition, left wholly at the mercies of fate and providence.”
Moreover, it has been alleged that whenever Rehman complains of chest pains, he is given painkillers, which Rehman’s father-in-law has argued, is “a blatant and egregious violation of the fundamental rights of the Applicant guaranteed under Articles 14, 19, 20 and 21 of the Constitution of India.”
Remembering Stan Swamy, whose death was termed as an institutional killing by many, Kha says in the petition,
“Any delay in taking up the instant application for urgent hearing and interim directions can result in his terrible and macabre demise, consigned to the fate suffered by Stan Swamy, to be known as a cold and cruel Institutional Killing."
Further requesting the court to admit him in the AIIMS or provide him bail considering his medical condition, the petition says that if the court "does not come to his aid immediately, to save his life, it might be too late, and he would be resigned to the harshest penalty of all, known to mankind, ie, the death penalty, without a trial."
(With inputs from The Times of India.)
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