Citizens urge UP govt to ensure health care to jailed student leader Atiq-ur-Rehman

Atiq-ur-Rehman, behind bars for his alleged role in Hathras conspiracy case, is struggling with partial paralysis and disorientation after a heart surgery

Hathras gangrape-murder victim being cremated by UP Police at midnight
Hathras gangrape-murder victim being cremated by UP Police at midnight
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NH Web Desk

Several concerned citizens and representatives of civil liberties’ organisations in the country have sought the urgent intervention of the authorities in Uttar Pradesh to ensure quality health care and medical bail for jailed student leader Atiq-ur-Rehman who is struggling with partial paralysis and disorientation after a heart surgery.

Rehman’s bail hearing will come up for hearing on Wednesday, September 21, 2022.

Rehman, who is suffering from a cardiac ailment called Aortic Regurgitation since 2002, was arrested in October 2020 along with journalist Siddique Kappan, Jamia Millia Islamia student Masood Ahmad, and a cab driver named Mohammad Alam in Mathura for an alleged conspiracy case when they were on their way to meet the family of the Dalit rape victim in Hathras. 

A national office bearer of student organisation Campus Front of India, Rehman was a Ph.D student at Meerut’s Chaudhary Charan Singh University and was also active during the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests.

In the statement, the signatories expressed their unease at the manner in which Atiq-ur-Rehman is being denied timely and appropriate medical treatment and care.

The statement highlighted that the death in judicial custody of Fr Stan Swamy, charged in the Bhima Koregaon case and that of Pandu Narote, serving a life sentence in Nagpur Jail, were a grim reminder of the fatal neglect of the right to health of those incarcerated in jail.

There was enough evidence of the callous indifference of the State to the medical condition of other accused in the Bhima Koregaon case like Vernon Gonsalves and Gautam Navlakha, and of Prof GN Saibaba, serving a life sentence in Nagpur jail.

It pointed out that the treatment of Atiq-Ur-Rehman violated both the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (also known as the ‘Nelson Mandela Rules’) as well the right to health for all persons guaranteed under the Constitution.

Rule 27 of the ‘Nelson Mandela Rules’ states: All prisons shall ensure prompt access to medical attention in urgent cases. Prisoners who require specialized treatment or surgery shall be transferred to specialised institutions or to civil hospitals.

The signatories, which included Aakar Patel, Nandini Sundar, Clifton D’ Rozario, All India Lawyers Association for Justice (AILAJ), People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Annie Raja, General Secretary, National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW), NAPM, Harsh Mander, Henri Tiphagne, Apoorvanand, and Kavita Srivastava, demanded urgent medical attention for Rehman and said that the State must fulfil its constitutional responsibility to health care, the right to dignity and the right to life itself.

In 2021, due to his worsening health condition and a plea from his family, Rehman was taken to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) for an open heart surgery. 

In March 2022, the Mathura jail authorities wrote to Rahman’s family informing them that he is being urgently taken to AIIMS Delhi because he had complained of chest pain. He was in the hospital for 28 days and was then sent back to the jail. About a month later, his health condition worsened.

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