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Bhima Koregaon Case: Jailed DU Professor Hany Babu Denied Follow-up Treatment For Eye Infection, Alleges Family

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
12 May 2021 6:30 AM GMT
Bhima Koregaon Case: Jailed DU Professor Hany Babu Denied Follow-up Treatment For Eye Infection, Alleges Family
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Delhi University Associate Professor Hany Babu, an accused in the Bhima Koregaon – Elgaar Parishad case has developed an acute eye infection during his incarcerated in Taloja prison with little or no vision in his left eye and little medical attention his family has said in a press statement. Babu was arrested on July 28, 2020 by the National Investigating Agency. "He has little...

Delhi University Associate Professor Hany Babu, an accused in the Bhima Koregaon – Elgaar Parishad case has developed an acute eye infection during his incarcerated in Taloja prison with little or no vision in his left eye and little medical attention his family has said in a press statement.

Babu was arrested on July 28, 2020 by the National Investigating Agency.

"He has little or no vision in his left eye due to the swelling, which has spread to the cheek, ear and forehead, compromising other vital organs as well, and posing a significant risk to his life if it spreads to the brain. He is in agonising pain and is unable to sleep or perform daily chores. Due to an acute water shortage in the prison, he does not have access to clean water to even bathe his eye and is forced to dress his eye with soiled towels." the statement issued by his wife Jenny Rowena, and brothers Harish MT and MT Ansari states.

They have requested immediate access to proper medical care, and transparency in case of such a serious illness.

"We fear that an opaque system will do irreparable damage to those locked up within as well as locked down at various places. Hence, we request immediate access to proper medical care and transparency in case of such a serious illness. After all, we are only asking for the rights granted and guaranteed under the Constitution of India."

According to the statement, Babu started experiencing pain and swelling in the left eye on 3rd May 2021, which soon developed into double vision and severe pain. Since the prison Medical Officer had already informed Babu that the prison did not have the facilities to treat his eye infection, he requested for consultation and treatment with a specialized doctor.

"But he was not taken for consultation, because an escort officer was not available. It was only after his lawyers sent an email on 6th May to the Superintendent, Taloja Jail, that he was taken to a Government Hospital in Vashi on 7th May."

At the Vashi Government Hospital, Babu was examined by an Ophthalmologist, prescribed certain anti-bacterial medication, and advised to return for follow-up treatment in two days, the statement says, adding, Whilst his condition deteriorated alarmingly, he was still not taken back to the hospital after two days, once again due to the lack of escort officers, the prison claims.

"On 10th May, Babu's lawyer, Payoshi Roy, made over 8 calls to the prison in order to speak with the Superintendent, who refused to come on the line. At 8:30 pm, the Jailor informed Ms. Roy that he was aware of Hany Babu's condition and was making arrangements to take him to the hospital the next day. As follow-up, Hany Babu's lawyers also sent another email to the Superintendent requesting that there be no further delay in taking him to the hospital."

"Through the last few days, we have been beside ourselves with anxiety. The thought of Hany Babu having to beg for something as basic as essential health services is heart wrenching. Even today, we were unable to get a response from the prison, despite repeated calls by Ms. Roy."

Prof Hany Babu, as well as 15 other civil rights activists and academics, in India, are incarcerated, facing charges under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) based on letters primarily retrieved from researcher Rona Wilson and co-accused Surendra Gadling's computer, to claim a conspiracy to kill the Prime Minister and overthrow the government.

Bhima Koregaon Case

The Bhima Koregaon battle was fought between 25,000 mighty Peshwa army and 500 British soldiers including people from the Mahar (Dalit) community. The names of martyrs in the war are inscribed in the memorial by the British Army then.

The hundreds of people visiting the war memorial at Bhima Koregaon were attacked on January 1, 2018, after violence erupted. They were mostly from Dalit community and one died in the stone-pelting.

An FIR was registered regarding the violence the same day. However, three years since no chargesheet has been filed in the case.

Another FIR by right wing activist Tushar Damgude, filed on January 8, 2018 and was pursued. The houses of several activists, including Rona Wilson's and advocate Surendra Gadling were searched on April 17, 2018. It was alleged that the violence at Bhima Koregaon was a result of inflammatory speeches held at the Elgaar Parishad conference, on December 31, 2017.

The scope of the investigation was eventually widened, with the Pune police claiming retrieval of incriminating documents in the form of electronic records. This included an email written by a certain 'R' to Comrade Prakash on April 18, 2017 talking of a "Rajiv Gandhi-type" operation. The email was part of the documents investigated by Arsenal.

So far, 16 people have been arrested in the case as accused — Jyoti Raghoba Jagtap, Sagar Tatyaram Gorkhe, Ramesh Murlidhar Gaichor, Sudhir Dhawale, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen, Rona Wilson, Arun Ferreira, Sudha Bharadwaj, Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Anand Teltumbde, Gautam Navlakha, Hany Babu and Father Stan Swamy.

Most of the accused in the case were neither named in the FIR over the violence nor present during the 2017 event.


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