Fresh demand for GN Saibaba’s release; ‘anybody who stands up for anybody is in jail’, says Arundhati Roy
Jailed ex-DU professor G N Saibaba, who recently contracted Covid-19, is 90 per cent disabled and was already suffering from various life-threatening ailments
Noted novelist and activist Arundhati Roy on Wednesday demanded the release of jailed ex-DU professor G N Saibaba who recently tested Covid-19 positive while being incarcerated in Nagpur jail.
Saibaba, who is 90 per cent disabled, has been languishing in Nagpur jail for years in a notorious ‘anda cell’ for waging war against India. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2017.
Saibaba’s wife Vasantha told the media that his condition has deteriorated rapidly after he contracted Covid-19. He was already suffering from various life-threatening ailments such as Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy with left ventricular dysfunction, hypertension, kidney stones and a cyst in the brain.
Demanding immediate medical assistance for him and his release from jail, ‘Committee for the Defence and Release of Dr. GN Saibaba’ issued a statement saying, “It is crucial that Saibaba be examined for all his medical issues at the earliest, particularly for the impact of Covid-19 on his brain and internal organs, at a hospital with adequate facilities to treat a person with such co-morbidities. His immediate family should be allowed to access and provide assistance to him.”
Addressing the media on behalf of the committee, Roy drew a parallel between today’s India and Germany. She said: “What we are witnessing today is not politics, it is pathology. If you look at history you will see when the Second World War happened, when Germany was being bombed to the end, when not a city was left standing…till the German citizens did not stand up against Hitler…When people were killed under the order of Stalin in front of Stalinists…they would die saying Long Live Stalin”.
She said that ‘institutions have floated away in the saffron river’, adding that an “alternative reality” has been created by the media.
Taking a swipe at the media for not covering real issues, the Booker Prize winner said, “Today we are in the business of cultivating a mythological character called Narendra Modi who is trying to become a godman. Who is trying to disappear all the traces of his real life...his college beginning, his birth and other realities…and this nation is being hypnotized.”
“We have to understand all the best activists…all the best lawyers…Saibaba’s lawyer Gadling is in jail. The people who are in his defence committee are in jail. Anybody who stands up for anybody is in jail,” she added.
Commenting on the ongoing farmers’ protest, Roy said that what farmers were facing today was faced by Adivasis in 2002. “What we have been saying for years now has been realized by all. They have facts and figures. Everyone now knows that the attempts are not only being made to corporatize agriculture of Punjab and Haryana but hospitals, education, universities…everything is being handed over to corporates,” said Roy.
Apart from Roy, CPI general secretary D Raja, eminent lawyer Prashant Bhushan, filmmaker Sanjay Kak, and DU professor Nandita Narayan also addressed the media, demanding the release of Saibaba.
Published: 11 Mar 2021, 8:23 AM