Gokarakonda Naga Saibaba, an English professor at Delhi University, was arrested in 2014 and convicted in 2017 for his peaceful academic activities and purported membership in the Communist Party. He suffers from post-polio syndrome, COVID-19, and numerous other medical conditions, yet he has not been provided with the appropriate medical care.
January 18, 2022
Shri Ram Nath Kovind, President
Republic of India
New Delhi, 110004
RE: Dr. Gokarakonda Naga Saibaba
Dear President Kovind:
The Committee of Concerned Scientists is an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers, and scholars devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for colleagues throughout the world.
This letter concerns Dr. Gokarakonda Naga Saibaba, an English professor at Delhi University, who is serving a life sentence for his human rights advocacy on behalf of groups that have suffered during the conflict between the Indian government and the separatist (Maoist) Communist Party of India (CPI).
Dr. Saibaba was initially arrested in May, 2014 and was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in March, 2017 for his alleged membership in the Communist Party, which the Government of India considers a terrorist organization, and for his academic studies on the conflict between the government and the CPI.
We wrote to you about Dr. Saibaba in September, 2018 and again in June 2020, calling for his release on humanitarian grounds
We feel compelled to write to you again. Dr. Saibaba suffers from post-polio syndrome, and his health has deteriorated dramatically since his 2014 arrest. According to reports, he has twice been infected with COVID-19. He has also developed numerous other life-threatening conditions, including pancreatitis, gallstones, severe urinary pain, and cardiac complications.
He requires the use of a wheelchair, but prison facilities do not fully accommodate such use.
Both Dr. Saibaba’s imprisonment for peaceful activities and the abusive treatment he is receiving in prison violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the Republic of India has agreed. Therefore, we urge GOI to release Dr. Saibaba promptly, at least on medical parole, so that he may receive the medical treatment that is needed to restore his health.
Thank you for your attention to this serious matter. We will closely follow developments in Dr. Saibaba’s case.
Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich,
Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs
Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India
South Block, Raisina Hill
New Delhi, Delhi, India 110001
Phone: (202) 647-4000
Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20520
Phone: (202) 647-4000
H.E. Taranjit Singh Sandhu, Ambassador
Embassy of the Republic of India
2107 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
Patricia A. Lacina, Chargé d’Affaires
United States Embassy – New Delhi
Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, 110021