Urgent Appeal for Action – Tamil Nadu: Sedition charges slapped on six social activists and human rights defenders of ‘Makkal Adhikaram’ (People’s Rights), a social organisation in Tamil Nadu for organising a conference/meeting to demand closure of State-run liquor outlets and restricting their rights to freedom of expression and assembly in Tamil Nadu
COMMITTEE FOR THE DEFENCE & RELEASE OF DR. GN SAIBABA
Press Statement on SC granting bail to Prof. GN Saibaba
The Committee for the Defence and Release of Dr GN Saibaba whole- heartedly welcomes the decision of the Supreme Court of India to release Dr GN Saibaba on bail forthwith. This is indeed a much needed and long awaited relief for Dr Saibaba, who has been languishing in the anda cell of the Nagpur Central Jail since December 2015, when the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court cancelled the bail granted to him by the Division Bench of the Bombay High Court and ordered him to surrender within 24 hours. It was reported by various agencies that Saibaba’s health conditions have been deteriorating drastically as the jail authorities refused to offer proper medical care or continue the special facilities that the High Court had ordered considering the precarious health conditions of a wheelchair-bound person with 90% disability.
The Committee notes that the Supreme Court did not mince its words when the Honourable Judge noted that the opposition to the bail by the State was unfair as the Court had categorically announced that Saibaba would be released on bail once the condition set by the Court in its last hearing in the month of March, 2016 that all the material witnesses have to be examined on a day-to-day basis within a month was fulfilled. In today’s hearing, the Counsel for the State submitted that 8 more formal witnesses have to be examined and that needed Saibaba’s custody till that is also over, as they have apprehensions that he would indulge in anti- national activities if he is released. Rejecting all the arguments presented by the Defence Counsel, the Judge asked them why they wanted to torture a person like this. “Do you want a pound of flesh”, he asked.
The Committee thanks all the lawyers, activists, individuals and organizations that have extended their support so far in the struggle and hopes that they would continue their support till Saibaba gets justice. If the stance taken by the State in the Court proceeding today is any indication, the intimidatory tactics adopted by the State machinery against those who are relentlessly engaged in the struggle for the oppressed and the downtrodden is far from over.
(Hany Babu MT)
For the Committee.