Civil Society Cries Foul as Hathras Detainee, A Heart Patient, Suffers in Hospital

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A campaign poster in support of Atikur Rahman put out by Campus Front of India. Source- Internet

Activist Atikur Rahman, jailed along with journalist Siddique Kappan, needs urgent surgery, say his family members

Waquar Hasan | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – Atikur Rahman, an activist who was arrested along with journalist Siddique Kappan last year, is in hospital for the last five days. He is a heart patient and his family members are concerned about his well-being. They say he is not getting proper treatment in jail hospital.

“Despite being hospitalized for five days there is no improvement in his health. He suffers from heart disease and needs urgent surgery. Otherwise, he would die any time,” said Sakhawat Chaudhry, father-in-law of Rahman, while talking to Clarion India.

Twenty-seven-year-old Rahman, who has been associated with Campus Front of India, a student organisation, was arrested last year by Uttar Pradesh Police while on way to Hathras after the incident of gangrape and subsequent death of a Dalit girl. The UP government invoked a stringent anti-terror law called UAPA against Rahman and Kappan. Their arrest and invocation of UAPA against them have come under severe criticism from the civil society.

Rahman has been a heart patient since the age of seven. His brother Mateen said that before his arrest last year Rahman was set to undergo heart surgery at the AIIMS, Delhi.

Chaudhray, his father-in-law, said that he feels that Rahman’s life was in danger because there are cases of administration’s apathy which has cost the lives of the prisoners. The court also does not take those cases seriously and passes general orders.

It was only last month that a tribal rights activist Father Stan Swamy, who was in jail since October 2020, died in incarceration. He was suffering from Parkinson’s disease and had requested bail on medical grounds, which was rejected multiple times.

Family members of Rahman are being informed about his health status through phone calls. The authorities told them that he is suffering from fever, diarrhea and loose motion. But Chaudhry said the main cause of concern is heart ailment. He is not getting treatment for this, he said.

Chaudhray shared the record of the medical treatment which he has been going through since 2004. “He has been taken to Agra hospital several times. But, the treatment of his disease is in AIIMS. The file of his case in AIIMS has already been drafted. We have provided this file to the court,” said Chaudhry.

Mateen, his brother, said that family members are not being allowed to see him even though he is sick. “They have not seen him ever since he was arrested. We filed several applications for permission to see him but it was rejected by the jail authorities,” he said.

Saifan Sheikh, advocate representing Rahman, told Clarion India that they informed the court several times that Rahman is a heart patient. He needs to see a doctor every month and get prescription medicine. In the jail hospital, he is not treated for heart. He is given just pain killers.

“We brought these problems several times before the court and sought permission to allow him to undergo heart surgery at AIIM. Whenever we file an application about it in the court, it says “do the needful”. The jail authorities say that ‘he does not need this treatment. When it will be needed, they will do the needful’,” he said.

“Now, we have approached the Allahabad High Court, it is yet to be heard,” he said.

Human rights group NCHRO also warned about his deteriorating health.

“We witnessed the passing away of Father Stan Swamy in custody. Now, Atiq Ur Rahman, a student leader suffering from a serious heart condition and facing negligence even in the midst of a life-threatening disease, reveals failure of our democratic society as well as the rule of law,” said the NCHRO in a statement, demanding his immediate release.

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