The health of severely handicapped human rights defender Dr. Saibaba continues to deteriorate. CCS demands his release from prison.
June 27, 2022
Shri Ram Nath Kovind
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.
We have repeatedly asked your government to intercede in the case of 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 from abuses by Salwa Judum vigilantes 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 and January 2022, calling for his release on humanitarian grounds.
We feel it is important to write to you again. Dr. Saibaba suffers from post-polio syndrome, a heart condition, a brain cyst, hypertension, and breathing difficulties. His health worsened 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 rectal bleeding.
He requires the use of a wheelchair, but prison facilities do not fully accommodate such use. Most recently it was reported that Dr. Saibaba’s health has deteriorated to such a degree that he needed constant support from two persons for such functions as sitting, eating, drinking, and using the bathroom.
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
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
Embassy of the Republic of India
2107 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
Patricia A. Lacina
United States Embassy – New Delhi
Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, 110021