Human Lives Human Rights: It is a travesty for the Indian authorities to practice draconian anti-terror law solely for peacefully exercising human rights and despite deteriorating health conditions keeping activists in detention.
Jailed activist Atikur Rahman’s mother and rights groups are concerned about his deteriorating health condition, who has been in detention for almost two years on bogus charges solely for peacefully exercising his human rights.
It seems the authorities are on a vindictive quest to further crush him by making his life unbearable, including by denying and delaying his medical treatment.
Rahman should not have been detained in the first place. His arbitrary detention must end, demand the rights groups.
Rahman must be released immediately and all politically motivated charges against him dropped.
Pending his release, the Indian authorities must ensure that his detention conditions are improved in line with international standards and that he has immediate and regular access to his family and any healthcare he may require.
Subjecting Rahman to inhumane conditions and failing to provide adequate medical treatment is a human rights violation.
On 5 October 2020, Atikur Rahman along with journalist Siddique Kappan, student Masood Ahmad and taxi driver Mohammad Alam was arrested by Indian security forces in Mathura, in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India.
They were on their way to meet the family of a Dalit woman who was raped and murdered by a group of men from the dominant caste in Hathras.
The Uttar Pradesh police charged them with ‘sedition’, ‘promoting enmity between groups’, ‘outraging religious feelings’ and ‘criminal conspiracy’ under the Indian Penal Code and ‘raising funds for terrorist act’ and ‘conspiring to commit a terrorist act’ under the UAPA.
In November 2021, Atikur Rahman was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi for an open-heart surgery after his family filed a writ petition in the Allahabad High Court.
Since March 2022, he has been hospitalized multiple times. His medical documents state in addition to an existing heart ailment, he has now developed a neurological disease. The left side of his body has been paralyzed and he suffers from memory loss.
“As a mother, if your child detaches from you for two hours, you know how anxious you get. My son is in jail, away from me for two years,” said Rahman’s mother Raabiya, in a press conference at the Press Club of India on Saturday.”
Adding to it, Rahman’s wife Sanjida said, “We got a call on 29 August informing us that his medical condition is getting worse and asked to come to see him in Lucknow… only after we reached there we came to know his condition was miserable.”
‘He Was Lying as if He Was Dead’: Rahman’s Wife
Describing his health condition, Rahman’s wife Sanjida further stated, “He couldn’t make sense of anything. He was lying as if he was dead. Tell me, what is more, saddening than seeing your loved one in front of you as a dead man.”
She further demanded that considering his ill health and stringent charges (Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA)) on him, the judiciary must step in grant him immediate bail to save his life.
“It is uncivilized and inhuman to deny treatment to a prisoner and violation of human rights,” she added.
Rahman has been suffering from a heart ailment called aortic regurgitation since 2002, in which the heart’s aortic valve does not close tightly.
In November 2021, after an urgent plea was moved by Rahman’s family in the Allahabad High Court, he was taken for heart surgery in AIIMS, Delhi. However, he hasn’t been given proper post-surgery care in the jail due to which his condition has worsened, the family alleged.
Earlier this month, the family also said that Rahman needed to be moved to AIIMS and not KGMU. “He has been treated by his doctors at AIIMS for years. Moreover, after the surgery, they required him to come there for regular consultations,” said Sanjida.
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