Jailed Professor G.N. Saibaba to Go on Indefinite Hunger Strike if CCTV Not Removed From Cell

According to Saibaba, the camera captures the toilet and bathing area of the cell as well.

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New Delhi: Former Delhi University professor G.N. Saibaba, who is serving a life sentence at the Nagpur central jail, has threatened to go on an indefinite hunger strike in two days if a CCTV camera installed in his cell – which can allegedly capture footage of the toilet and bathing area – is not removed.

Saibaba’s wife Vasantha Kumari and his brother G. Ramadevudu have written to the Maharashtra home minister on May 14 requesting him to intervene in the matter immediately and “provide him privacy, dignity”.

As per the family’s letter, the wide-angle CCTV cameras were put in front of the small cell on May 10 which can capture “video of the entire cell including the toilet seat, bathing place and everything in the small cell”.

It said, “So he can’t use the toilet for urinals or cannot even take a bath before the camera, as the camera records video of everything 24/7 hours. Now how can Dr G N Saibaba live in these circumstances?”

As per an Indian Express report, they wrote, “The helpers are also intimidated by the closely watching camera since their bodies are constantly exposed to the eye of the camera. This is clearly to intimidate and insult him. This is a means to violate his privacy. His right to  privacy, life  and liberty is at risk because he cannot use the toilet, or take bath, or change clothes in front of a camera that’s not only running 24 hours but also recording everything and watched constantly in the office of the Jail superintendent.”

Also read: The ‘Radical Optimism’ in G.N. Saibaba’s Poetry

They said, “Under these strain conditions, he has decided to go on a hunger strike indefinitely till death or (till) the camera is removed, and the responsible prison administrators apologise for knowingly and brutally violating natural body rights and the rights provided by the constitution.” It further added that Saibaba “is planning to start his hunger strike within two days in the Nagpur Central Jail.”

Stating that he suffers from aliments like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, hypertension, paraplegia, kyphoscoliosis of the spine, anterior horn cell disease, acute pancreatitis and a cyst in the brain, the family also urged the home minister to provide him “required proper diagnosis and treatment for all his health issues immediately”.

A few days ago, Saibaba’s advocate had stated that the jail authorities refused to give him a plastic water bottle claiming it to be a jar. Advocate Aakash Sarode had told The Hindu, “I had taken permission from the jail authorities to get him a plastic bottle and only then I had got the bottle. Sai cannot carry a glass bottle because it is heavy and he has severe pain in shoulders and metal bottles are not allowed inside prison.”

Saibaba was sentenced to life imprisonment by a lower court in Gadchiroli in 2007 under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for alleged Maoist links. His appeal against the sentence at the Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court has been pending.