NLSIU | Caging Dissent: A Discussion on the Incarceration of Prof. G. N. Saibaba

On May 2014, Professor G. N. Saibaba, an English Lecturer at Ramlal Anand College, Delhi University, was arrested for his alleged association with Maoist groups. His arrest is considered very strange as he was “abducted” by the police on his way home. Dr. Saibaba is 90% disabled, and the forceful nature of his arrest was unwarranted. Last year, G. N. Saibaba was given a life sentence by a court for his links with the Maoists. The court has also found Hem Mishra and four others guilty of waging war against the country and supporting the ideology of the banned organisation, CPI (Maoist).

Dr. Saibaba’s health has deteriorated leaving his life in peril. Given his disability, he is in need of constant care and medical attention. However, he has been denied the much needed support. He is fed food that can barely sustain a patient who requires the medication he needs to survive. The few medicines and supplements that he has been allowed to have was rejected for the third time in March 2015 despite his falling health. Dr. Saibaba went on a six day hunger strike, fell unconscious and was subsequently hospitalized. It is suggested that it was his campaigning against the state sponsored Operation Green Hunt that made him a target.

With this backdrop, the Law and Society Committee organised a panel discussion on July 26, 2018 on the rights of prisoners focusing on the rights of the disabled and the politics of arrest. The discussion was attended by members of the legal defence team which is working to secure his release, including Prof. Haragopal, Hany Babu, Cecelia Davies as well as his spouse, Vasantha Kumari. The event saw participation from many students, faculty members of the college and externals.

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