We are writing to express our grave concern regarding the arrest of human rights defender Dr. Saibal Jana, chief physician of Shaheed Hospital at Dalli Rajhara by the Chhattisgarh police. Dr. Jana has been charged under sections 147,148,149,333 &152 of Indian Penal Code. PC. The latest arrest of Dr. Saibal Jana in Chhattisgarh has only brought to the fore the extremely precarious condition of social activists, lawyers, journalists and human rights defenders in the state who are regularly harassed, intimidated, attacked and falsely implicated for raising their voices against human rights abuses.
Source of Information on the Incident:
The Coordinator of HRDA for the East of India Media Reports
Status of Human Rights Defenders:
Dr Saibal Jana is a chief physician at Shaheed Hospital in Dalli Rajhara city in district Balod of Chhattisgarh. The hospital was founded by Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha, led by Late Shankar Guha Niyogi and run by money collected from the workers of the area. Dr. Jena, along with Dr. Ashis Kundu came to Dalli Rajhara in 1977, soon after he passed out from the National Medical College, Kolkata. They along with Dr. Vinayak Sen opted to live among the mineworkers. Dr. Jana along with Dr. Binayak Sen and Dr. Asish Kundu has been instrumental in setting up the Shaheed Hospital. At the time of the struggle of mine workers, Dr. Jana was a member of the central decision making committee of the Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha, a political platform organising industrial and mine workers, agricultural workers and adivasis of the region. Dr Jana has served the people of Chhattisgarh selflessly for over three decades.
Chhattisgarh police of Durg district
Date of Incident:
17th March, 2016.
Place of Incident:
Additional Session Judge Court premises, Durg city, district Durg, Chhattisgarh
According to sources, Dr. Saibal Jana along with four other persons appeared before the chief judicial magistrate (CJM), Durg on March 16, 2016, in connection with a warrant that was issued almost 24 years back. They approached the court with the genuine assumption that they would be given regular bail as many others had already been released at different point of time. But the CJM rejected the bail application and asked them to file the appeal on March 17, 2016, before the Additional Session Judge in Durg city. The Additional Session Judge granted bail to four others but kept Dr. Jana’s matter under consideration and sent him in judicial custody.
Dr. Saibla Jana’s arrest came in a case that happened way back on July 1, 1992, when he along with the staff and ambulance of Shaheed Hospital were present at the site of the agitation providing medical assistance to trade union activists of the Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha who were injured in police action. The agitating mine workers were demanding equal pay for all, for same kind of work before Bhilai Industrial Area. The agitators went on to the nearby railway track and tried to block the movement of the trains. The police resorted to firing which resulted in the deaths of some of the workers. Police lodged criminal cases against 54 persons in 1992. Among them, 49 persons were set free from the charges at different point of time. Dr. Saibal Jana was among the 5 persons who were left out after their anticipatory bail applications were rejected at the Jabalpur High Court in 1992-93.
After his arrest Dr. Jana has been charged under sections 147,148,149,333 &152 of IPC. He was immediately taken to the Durg District Government hospital for check-up where he got admitted under judicial custody. On March 18, 2016 morning he was referred to Apollo Hospital, Durg due to health complications.
HRDA – India believes that the arrest of Dr. Saibla Jana proves that the action is clearly motivated by the vested political and ideological interests to target anyone who stands up for the democratic rights of workers, farmers, tribals and ordinary Indian citizens. The arrest of a person of the public stature like Dr. Saibal Jana after a gap of 24 years in a case of an old warrant is a great travesty of Indian justice system.