New Delhi: NCHRO is deeply shocked by the judgment delivered by a sessions court in Gadchiroli district, Maharashtra on Tuesday,07-March-2017 sentencing Delhi University Professor GN Saibaba and four others to life imprisonment. The judgment clearly shows that even thoughts can be considered a criminal offence in the country and it an affront to justice.
The court says that it is “proved beyond reasonable doubt” that the accused “hatched criminal conspiracy to wage war against the Government of India" and punished them under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Strangely it also holds that “merely because accused no. 6 Saibaba is 90% disabled is no grounds to show him leniency”.Dr Saibaba is a paraplegic right from school days and he cannot move about without assistance.It is patently clear that Saibaba was convicted to silence him as he has been vehemently opposed to some of the policies of the government especially those dealing with Adivasi land in central India’s mineral-rich corridor.
The Supreme Court has held that the charge of sedition can be upheld only if the prosecution proves that the accused attempted to incite violence or public disorder. It is clear that Saibaba's case doesn't meet that standard. For the criminal justice system to work properly, three different institutions - the investigating agencies, the prosecution and the courts - need to work in tandem.
Saibaba is being made an example of by the government as a warning to others who try to expose the patent violation of human rights taking place in the country in the name of development.
NCHRO urges the Maharashtra government to release Prof.Saibaba immediately on bail and put an end to the suffering that he and his family have endured since 2013.We also insist that the government drop politically motivated charges. Saibaba deserves recognition, not lifetime imprisonment as an enemy of the country.