Urgent appeal for the immediate release of Dr. GN Saibaba and all political prisoners

Urgent Appeal of Commission 3 of the International League for Peoples’ Struggles

Dear friends and colleagues,

Commission 3 of the International League of Peoples’ Struggles enjoins all freedom-loving organizations and individuals to vehemently condemn the abduction and continuing detention of Indian human rights activist Dr. GN Saibaba, and to demand for his immediate release.

Dr. Saibaba is an English professor at Ram Lal Anand College, New Delhi, India and a well-known human rights activist. On May 9, 2014, at around 1:30pm, Dr. GN Saibaba, who was in a wheelchair and was on his way home after his examination duty, and his driver, Deepak, were abducted from the university premises and forced into a vehicle by plain-clothed members of the Maharashtra Police. Dr. Saibaba was hastily brought to the airport and flown to Gadchiroli. He was then brought to the Nagpur Central Jail, on the grounds that there were no facilities for housing for persons with disability (PWD) at Gadchiroli. He is reportedly under solitary confinement, in the “unda” cell, without medication or physical assistance. His family has been denied knowledge on his whereabouts and he has been denied access to legal counsel.

His driver, Deepak, recounted that their vehicle was blocked by a car of policemen in plain clothes. He was then pulled out of the their vehicle, manhandled, blindfolded and forced into the police vehicle. None of the police officials identified themselves or showed any court warrant for the arrest of Dr. Saibaba, nor informed them where he was being taken to or where they intended to take Saibaba to. It was only later that he came to know that he was taken to Civil Lines Police Thana, where he was detained and kept in isolation, until his release was demanded by Saibaba’s wife Vasantha, and other teachers and academics of the university.

Dr. Saibaba, who is 90% disabled, suffers from permanent post-polio paralysis of the legs. He also has a heart condition, with a history of cardiac problems including a heart attack, and has been on medication for the last ten (10) years. He likewise suffers from high blood pressure, hypertension, severe spinal and hip pain, swelling of ligaments and partial immobility of upper arms. The police doctor certified his ill health and prescribed medication for him. However, jail officials of the Nagpur Central Jail also aver that the facility is not equipped to have prisoners with special needs such as Saibaba.

Dr. Saibaba’s abduction and detention came after the arbitrary raid at his residence on September 12, 2013, allegedly to recover “stolen property” and “objectionable material,” and in January 2014. Saibaba is also the joint secretary of the Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) and the convenor of several forums against Operation Green Hunt, a US counter-insurgency policy sponsored through the government of India, and the persecution of adivasis and tribal people in Central India. Clearly, he is being persecuted because of his clear and consistent positions for people’s rights.

Dr. GN Saibaba was arrested based on charges under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), a law which is being used by the Indian government to tag persons and organizations as “terrorists” to legally justify state repression on the people of India. As pointed out by South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD) in their statement, several prominent human rights activists, including Gautam Navlakha and Arudhati Roy, and students and professors of Delhi University and Jwahar Lal Nehru University have criticised that UAPA is “a device for framing such charges as those against Saibaba to silence voices raised against the land grab by corporations for mining and on behalf of the adivasis who are displaced and terrorized in the interest of this “development.”

Dr. GN Saibaba’s arrest, including the use of extreme force in the manner of his arrest, and the conditions of his detention are clear indications of the Indian government’s blatant violation of his rights under the Code of Criminal Procedure in India and under international human rights law, including the UN Standard Minimum Treatment of Prisoners. It clear that the Indian government, through its Operation Green Hunt, is persecuting all dissenting voices in Indian society who are actively working for people’s rights, and this pattern and policy of state terrorism and repression should stop.

This violation of his basic human rights, compounded by the harsh treatment of a disabled that he is, is appalling and condemnable. We pledge our full support with Dr. GN Saibaba, as we call for his immediate release, and our fervent solidarity with the people of India against the repressive Indian government. We denounce the attacks on organizations and peoples who are exercising their fundamental and democratic rights.

We appeal to our fellow human rights advocates all over the world to issue public statements and communicate with Indian authorities to press for the immediate release of Dr. GN Saibaba and drop all charges against him, to free all political prisoners and junk Operation Green Hunt. Attached is a template letter for Indian authorities, which can be used for communicating your support for this appeal. Please also furnish us a copy of your statements or letters through ilps.commission3@gmail.com

Thank you very much.
ILPS Commission 3


 

[DATE]

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RE: APPEAL FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF POLITICAL PRISONER DR. GN SAIBABA

Dear __________________:

I am writing regarding the abduction and continuing detention of Indian human rights activist Dr. GN Saibaba, an English professor at Ram Lal Anand College, New Delhi, India and a well-known human rights activist.

I learned that on May 9, 2014, at around 1:30pm, Dr. GN Saibaba, who was in a wheelchair and was on his way home after his examination duty, and his driver, Deepak, were abducted from the university premises and forced into a vehicle by plain-clothed members of the Maharashtra Police. Dr. Saibaba was hastily brought to the airport and flown to Gadchiroli. He was then brought to the Nagpur Central Jail, on the grounds that there were no facilities for housing for persons with disability (PWD) at Gadchiroli. He is reportedly under solitary confinement, in the “unda” cell, without medication or physical assistance. His family has been denied knowledge on his whereabouts and he has been denied access to legal counsel.

His driver, Deepak, recounted that their vehicle was blocked by a car of policemen in plain clothes. He was then pulled out of the their vehicle, manhandled, blindfolded and forced into the police vehicle. None of the police officials identified themselves or showed any court warrant for the arrest of Dr. Saibaba, nor informed them where he was being taken to or where they intended to take Saibaba to. It was only later that he came to know that he was taken to Civil Lines Police Thana, where he was detained and kept in isolation, until his release was demanded by Saibaba’s wife Vasantha, and other teachers and academics of the university.

Dr. Saibaba, who is 90% disabled, suffers from permanent post-polio paralysis of the legs. He also has a heart condition, with a history of cardiac problems including a heart attack, and has been on medication for the last ten (10) years. He likewise suffers from high blood pressure, hypertension, severe spinal and hip pain, swelling of ligaments and partial immobility of upper arms. The police doctor certified his ill health and prescribed medication for him. However, jail officials of the Nagpur Central Jail also aver that the facility is not equipped to have prisoners with special needs such as Saibaba.

Dr. Saibaba’s abduction and detention came after the arbitrary raid at his residence on September 12, 2013, allegedly to recover “stolen property” and “objectionable material,” and in January 2014. Saibaba is also the joint secretary of the Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) and the convenor of several forums against Operation Green Hunt, a US counter-insurgency policy sponsored through the government of India, and the persecution of adivasis and tribal people in Central India. Clearly, he is being persecuted because of his clear and consistent positions for people’s rights.

We are concerned that Dr. GN Saibaba was arrested based on charges under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), a law which is being used by the Indian government to tag persons and organizations as “terrorists” to legally justify state repression on the people of India. As pointed out by South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD) in their statement, several prominent human rights activists, including Gautam Navlakha and Arudhati Roy, and students and professors of Delhi University and Jwahar Lal Nehru University have criticised that UAPA is “a device for framing such charges as those against Saibaba to silence voices raised against the land grab by corporations for mining and on behalf of the adivasis who are displaced and terrorized in the interest of this “development.”

Dr. GN Saibaba’s arrest, including the use of extreme force in the manner of his arrest, and the conditions of his detention are clear indications of the Indian government’s blatant violation of his rights under the Code of Criminal Procedure in India and under international human rights law, including the UN Standard Minimum Treatment of Prisoners. We believe that the Indian government, through its Operation Green Hunt, is persecuting all dissenting voices in Indian society who are actively working for people’s rights, and this pattern and policy of state terrorism and repression should stop.

This violation of his basic human rights, compounded by the harsh treatment of a disabled that he is, is appalling and condemnable. We pledge our full support with Dr. GN Saibaba, as we call for his immediate release, and our fervent solidarity with the people of India against the repressive Indian government. We denounce the attacks on organizations and peoples who are exercising their fundamental and democratic rights.

We call on all Indian authorities to immediately release Dr. GN Saibaba and drop all charges against him, to free all political prisoners in India and junk Operation Green Hunt.

Please urgently respond to this request for the release of Dr. GN Saibaba.

Sincerely,

{Signature}

{Name and Organisation}

List of Indian authorities where letter above can be sent:

Shri Narendra Modi
Prime Minister
Government of India
Room No. 148 B, South block, New Delhi, India
Fax: + 91 11 230116857; 23015603
Email: manmohan@sansad.nic.inoo.prIsecypmo@gov.in

Mr. Pranab Mukherjee
President of India 
Rarstrapati Bhawan, New Delhi-110 004, India
Tel: + 91 11 23015321
Fax: +91 11 23017290+91 11 23017824
Email: secy.president@rb.nic.in

Chairperson
National Human Rights Commission
Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg
New Delhi 110001, India
Fax: + 91 11 2338 4863
Email: chairnhrc@nic.in 

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