Civil Rights Activists Demand Medical Bail for Jailed Student Leader Atiq-ur-Rehman

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Team Clarion

NEW DELHI – More than 35 concerned citizens and representatives of civil liberties’ organisations in India have sought the urgent intervention of the authorities in Uttar Pradesh to ensure quality health care and medical bail for jailed student leader Atiq-ur-Rehman, struggling with partial paralysis and disorientation after a heart surgery.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the signatories, who included academics, members of civil liberties and people’s organisations, journalists, lawyers, rights activists, student leaders and authors, expressed their unease at the manner in which Atiq-ur-Rehman, allegedly accused in the Hathras conspiracy case, 2020, is being denied timely and appropriate medical treatment and care. It may be noted that Atiq-ur-Rehman’s bail application comes up for hearing tomorrow.

As it is, their statement pointed out, the deaths in judicial custody of Fr Stan Swamy, charged in the Bhima Koregaon Conspiracy case and Pandu Narote serving life sentence in Nagpur Jail, were a grim reminder of the fatal neglect of the right to health of those incarcerated. There was enough evidence of the callous indifference of the state to the medical condition of other accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, like Vernon Gonsalves and Gautam Navlakha and of Prof G N Saibaba, also serving a life sentence in Nagpur jail.

The statement pointed out that the treatment of Atiq- Ur Rehman violates both the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (Also known as the Nelson Mandela Rules) as well the right to health for all persons guaranteed under the Constitution. The relevant part of Rule 27 of the Nelson Mandela rules states:

All prisons shall ensure prompt access to medical attention in urgent cases. Prisoners who require specialized treatment or surgery shall be transferred to specialized institutions or to civil hospitals.

They demanded urgent medical attention to Rehman and said that the State must fulfil their constitutional responsibility to health care, the right to dignity and the right to life itself. The state and its agencies must ensure a prisoner’s right to health and comply with provisions of both Article 21 of the Indian Constitution as well as the Nelson Mandela Rules with respect to all prisoners.

Signatories to the statement include V. Suresh (General Secretary), People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Annie Raja, General Secretary, National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW), Medha Patkar, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) and NAPM, Harsh Mander, Writer and Peace Activist, Fr. Frazer Mascarenhas, S.J.- Academic Administrator, Mihir Desai, Sr. Advocate and PUCL Maharashtra, Henri Tiphagne, People’s Watch, Tamil Nadu, Kavita Krishnan, Writer and Marxist Feminist Activist, Apoorvanand, Columnist and Academic, Kavita Srivastava, President, PUCL Rajasthan, Ravi Kiran Jain (President), PUCL, Aakar Patel, Columnist, Brinelle D’ Souza, academic and activist, Mumbai, Fr. Cedric Prakash, Writer and Human Rights Worker, Gujarat, Madhuri, Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan (JADS) and PUCL, Madhya Pradesh , Nandini Sundar, Writer and Academic, Anuradha Talwar, Paschim Banga Khet Majur Samity (PBKMS), West Bengal , Arundhati Dhuru, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), Uttar Pradesh, Prasad Chacko, Social Worker, Gujarat, VS Krishna and Gutta Rohit, Human Rights Forum, Andhra Pradesh, Arvind Narrain, Advocate, President, PUCL Karnataka , Bela Bhatia, Human Rights Lawyer and writer, Meera Sanghamitra, NAPM Telangana and Meha Khanduri, Human Rights Defenders Alert, Lara Jesani, Advocate and PUCL Maharashtra, John D’ Souza, Film Maker, Anuradha, Saheli, Delhi and Clifton D’ Rozario, All India Lawyers Association for Justice (AILAJ).

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