Monday, August 6, 2018

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Kobad health alarm in jail

Maoist ideologue Kobad Ghandy, lodged in a Jharkhand prison and facing trial for a 2007 rebel attack, has said his health has worsened because jail authorities have not acted on doctors’ advice to send him to capital Ranchi for treatment.
The 71-year-old was shifted from Bokaro’s Tenughat sub-divisional jail to Loknayak Jaiprakash Narayan Central Jail in Hazaribagh in March.
“The latest urine/blood report for the prostrate/urinary (July 3, 2018) tract shows a serious deterioration in the condition,” Ghandy has said in a July 7 letter to human rights activist and JNU professor Moushumi Basu.
“Ever since arrest by the Jharkhand police I have been informing that this condition is serious and continuously deteriorating. But the authorities have totally ignored it.”
Ghandy, held in various jails across the country since his arrest in Delhi in 2009, suffers from hypertension, arthritis and a slipped disc, and was treated for prostate cancer. He is alleged to have been associated with the CPIML People’s War, which merged with the Maoist Communist Centre to form the CPI Maoist in 2004.
The charges of association with the banned Maoist party and involvement in acts of terror have not been established although Ghandy was convicted of cheating, forgery and impersonation in 2016.
In his letter, Ghandy says that a doctor who examined him at Tenughat referred him to the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences, Ranchi, on February 9 and March 15 but he is yet to be sent there.
“After coming to Hazaribagh Central Jail, the condition has seriously deteriorated. Over a month back the doctor instructed to do a urine culture and blood tests. But this was ignored,” he has written.
“Finally on the eve of his retirement on June 30, at his personal initiative the tests were done. And the new doctor who took charge says there are serious problems in the report. But I am still not being sent to RIMS for thorough check-up and treatment by an urologist.”
Hazaribagh jail superintendent Hamid Akhtar told this newspaper that the prison’s 110-bed hospital ward conducts pathology tests and has an outpatient department.
“It has not yet been brought to my knowledge that he needs treatment outside. The jail hospital treats people but we don’t have facilities for conducting surgeries,” he said.
Basu told this newspaper: “His sister has not heard from him in the past four weeks, and whenever friends visited the jail they were turned away. His lawyer Rohit Thakur is also finding it difficult to meet him.”
She added: “The last time his sister from Mumbai, who is 69 years old, saw him was in March when he was about to go on a hunger strike demanding a transfer from Tenughat.”
Ghandy studied at Doon School, Dehradun, and St Xavier’s College in hometown Mumbai before leaving for London to study chartered accountancy. He is suspected to have come under the influence of the far Left there.
His wife Anuradha Shanbag, who died of malaria in the forests bordering Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Telangana in 2008, was a central committee member of the CPI Maoist.
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