Prof Saibaba Tests COVID-19 Positive in Jail, Kin Demands Parole

Saibaba had sought bail in 2020 citing co-morbidities that could put him at a greater risk of contracting COVID-19.

Updated
India
2 min read
Ex-professor of Delhi University, GN Saibaba. Image used for representation purposes.
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Former Delhi University Professor GN Saibaba, who is serving a life sentence at Nagpur Central Prison for Maoist links has tested positive for COVID-19.

A press release by his wife Vasantha Kumari and family members states that Saibaba was tested for COVID-19, on a request by the family, after he complained of severe symptoms of the virus over a call to them, three days ago.

The family has further requested the chief minister of Maharashtra to immediately shift Saibaba from the jail premises to a private hospital.

Three others along with him tested positive for the coronavirus at the Central Jail, Anup Kr Kumre, the Superintendent at the Nagpur Central Prison told news agency PTI. Gangster Arun Gawli and five others lodged in the same jail had also tested positive a few days ago.

Last year, Saibaba had asked for a 45-day bail to see his mother, who later died of cancer in August. He had also cited co-morbidities that could put him at a greater risk of contracting the virus in his bail application.

In a letter to the CM, the family writes that 10 out of the 25 prison inmates who were tested for COVID-19 came out to be positive, which indicates a possible breakout in the Nagpur Central Prison.

This puts the jailed professor in danger since he suffers from 19 health ailments and has serious co-morbidities, including heart and kidney issues that can lead to further complications under COVID-19.

The professor, who is bound to a wheelchair with 90 percent disabilities, was assigned two helpers by the prison authorities. However, since they have tested negative, Saibaba is currently in isolation, without helpers for his daily needs and emergencies.

The superintendent also stated, “He will be taken for a CT scan and other tests, after which doctors will decide whether to shift him to the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH, Nagpur) for treatment.”

However, the family asserts that the GMCH would not be an “optimal place to shift him as it is overflowing with patients and may intensify the infection further.”

Saibaba’s low immunity makes him prone to other diseases at the GMCH, which the family states is “not friendly for wheelchair-bound people.”

The family has requested the authorities to shift him to a good private hospital, and allow them to monitor his treatment.

“The family also demands that Dr. Saibaba should be released by parole considering the circumstances,” the press release further states.

Professor 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.

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