By Jakob Stein
Last week, posters and graffiti in solidarity with Indian political prisoner GN Saibaba were seen in Little Bangladesh, Los Angeles. The poster read, “Free Comrade GN Saibaba! Comrade GN Saibaba is being held in solitary confinement in Maharashtra, India for his revolutionary work.” The graffiti read, “Free all political prisoners! Making revolution is no crime!”
Saibaba was an English professor at Delhi University when he was initially arrested in May 2014 for alleged links to the Communist Party of India (Maoist), which is currently leading the people’s war to overthrow the reactionary old state in India. He has been granted bail twice for medical reasons in 2015 and 2016, but was sentenced to life in prison in March 2017 and has been in solitary confinement ever since.
The evidence against Saibaba is tenuous at best, and many believe that his conviction is due to his outspoken stance against the Indian government’s campaign of murder and rape against Maoist rebels and peasants in the countryside known as Operation Green Hunt.
Saibaba has been wheelchair-bound since he was a small child after contracting polio. He currently suffers from at least 19 different medical ailments that require comprehensive treatment, some of which could be fatal if left untreated. Since his solitary confinement, his health has rapidly deteriorated due to poor conditions and jail staff that are untrained and unable to provide the necessary medical attention.
Revolutionary activists as well as human rights defenders have consistently called for Saibaba’s release for years. His continued imprisonment and solitary confinement demonstrate the Indian government’s vicious and inhumane attitude toward its critics and supporters of the revolutionary struggle for New Democracy.