Rehman was arrested along with Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan in October in Hathras conspiracy case and booked under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Muhammad Raafi | TwoCircles.net
NEW DELHI — Atiq-ur-Rehman, a student leader of the Campus Front of India who was arrested along with Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan in October 2020 and charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, has been admitted to a local hospital in Lucknow after his health deteriorated in jail.
In November last year, Rehman was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS) for open heart surgery.
Rehman, 28, a resident of Uttar Pradesh, was a regular visitor to the AIMS since 2007 for his chronic heart condition diagnosed when he was a teenager. Rehman suffers from a heart ailment called aortic regurgitation. This occurs when the heart’s aortic valve does not close tightly. The most serious complication of this would be heart failure.
Sanjida, wife of Rehman told TwoCircles.net that his condition worsened in jail on Tuesday following which he was shifted to King George Medical College in Lucknow. “He does not recognise people and struggles to recall things,” Sanjida said after meeting Rehman at the hospital.
Nine months after the surgery was conducted on Rehman, his health deteriorated again in Lucknow district jail, Sakhawat, father-in-law of Rehman said. Sakhawat also met Rehman at King George Medical College Lucknow.
“He has been admitted to the hospital and his right side is paralysed,” Sakhawat said.
Rehman, a research scholar in library sciences at Choudhary Charan Singh University in Meerut, accompanied Kappan, Masood Ahmed, a master’s student at Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia and CFI office-bearer and taxi driver Muhammad Alam, on their way to express solidarity with the family of a Dalit woman in Hathras who had died after four upper-caste men had allegedly raped and murdered her.
UP Police arrested all of them using sections 151, 101, and 116 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
The first information report filed against them on 5 October 2020, a day after their arrest, listed eight sections of five laws, including the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) 1967, which allows detention without bail for up to a year.
The laws invoked against them were 124A (sedition), 153A (promoting enmity between groups) and 295A (outraging religious feelings) of the Indian Penal Code 1860; sections 65 (tampering with computer source documents), 72 (the penalty for breach of confidentiality and privacy) and 76 (confiscation) of the Information Technology Act 2008, and sections 14 (offences to be cognizable) and 17 (punishment for raising funds for the terrorist act) of the UAPA.
Rehman’s family has been highlighting his heart condition since August 2021.
In his petition to the Allahabad High Court, Sakhawat stated that he had been in unlawful judicial custody since October 5, 2020.
“[He has been] deprived of proper care and medical facilities suited to his health situation, which has aggravated his medical condition to such an extent that he may die at any moment,” he said.
Sakhawat has applied for the bail of Rehman in Lucknow high court. “We want him to be bailed out soon so that his health is taken care of,” Sanjida said.
Rehman’s lawyer Madhuwan Dutt Chaturvedi told twocircles.net that his condition is serious. “The cab driver, Alam has got bail. We have filed a bail application on the health grounds of Rehman. We are hopeful he gets bail.”
Campus Front of India President MS Sajid told TwoCircles.net that Rehman has fallen ill twice since he was operated upon in AIIMS last year because of unhygienic conditions and lack of care.
Sajid alleged that the jail authorities are hesitant to provide medical care to Rehman. “We demand the judiciary to intervene and save his life. We don’t want another Stan Swamy.”
Muhammad Raafi is a journalist based in New Delhi. He covers politics and human rights. He tweets at @MohammadRaafi