June 12, 2021
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Outlook's Cover Story on Prof Saibaba by Arundhati Roy

<i>Outlook</i>'s Cover Story on Prof Saibaba by Arundhati Roy
Photograph: Shailendra Pandey
Outlook's Cover Story on Prof Saibaba by Arundhati Roy

Suspended Delhi University professor G N Saibaba, arrested for alleged Maoist links, was today granted temporary bail for three months by the Bombay High Court considering his deteriorating health condition.

In May 2015, Outlook carried a cover story by Arundhati Roy on the professor who taught English at Ramlal Anand College:

"Why did they abduct him in this way when they could easily have arrested him formally, this professor who happens to be wheelchair-bound and paralysed from his waist downwards since he was five years old? There were two reasons: First, because they knew from their previous visits to his house that if they picked him up from his home on the Delhi University campus they would have to deal with a crowd of angry people—professors, activists and students who loved and admired Professor Saibaba not just because he was a dedicated teacher but also because of his fearless political worldview. Second, because abducting him made it look as though they, armed only with their wit and daring, had tracked down and captured a dangerous terrorist. The truth is more prosaic..."

On the professor's deteriorating health conditions in prison, Roy wrote:

"In the year he’s been in prison, his physical condition has deteriorated alarmingly. He is in constant, excruciating pain. (The jail authorities have helpfully described this as “quite normal” for polio victims.) His spinal cord has degenerated. It has buckled and is pushing up against his lungs. His left arm has stopped functioning."

Professor Saibaba has been charged under the UAPA, Sections 13 (taking part in/advocating/abetting/inciting the commission of unlawful activity), Section 18 (conspiring/attempting to commit a terrorist act), Section 20 (being a member of a terrorist gang or organisation), Section 38 (associating with a terrorist organisation with intention to further its activities) and Section 39 (inviting support and addressing meetings for the purpose of encouraging support for a terrorist organisation.)

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