Saturday, March 2, 2024

“This isn’t justice”: After suffering paralysis, Muslim activist yet not been granted bail

Muslim activist and Campus Front of India leader Atikur Rahman has become “partially paralyzed” and is unable to recognize anyone due to medical negligence by the police authorities, claimed his wife, Sanjida Rahman, and his lawyer. 

28-year-old Rahman, a patient with a heart disease called Aortic Regurgitation since 2002, is currently admitted in Lucknow’s King George’s Medical University (KGMU) hospital. 

He was arrested in October 2020 along with journalist Siddique Kappan, Jamia Millia Islamia student Masood Ahmad, and a cab driver Mohammad Alam in Mathura when they were on their way to meet the family of the Dalit rape victim. 

Soon, the four of them were detained under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). A year later, due to his worsening health condition, after an urgent plea was moved by his family in Allahabad High Court, Atikur Rahman was taken to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) for open heart surgery. 

After his heart surgery last year, a list of post-surgery instructions was mentioned in his discharge letter, reported The Quint including following dietary restrictions as well as visiting OPD.

In March 2022, the Mathura jail authorities wrote to Rahman’s family informing them that he is being urgently taken to AIIMS Delhi because he has complained of chest pains. 

“He was kept in the hospital for 28 days and was then sent back to the hospital. About a month later, his health condition again worsened,” his wife, Sanjida Rahman told Maktoob. “Then there was no treatment at all until his condition worsened again suddenly. The doctors at KGMU suggested they take him to AIIMS, but they didn’t.” 

Sanjida said that Atikur Rahman’s left side has completely paralyzed and he is no longer able to recognize anyone. “He didn’t even recognize his sons on the video call. My sons keep asking if he’ll ever recognize them again,” she said. 

Atikur Rahman was a Ph.D. student at Meerut’s Chaudhary Charan Singh University and also the national office bearer of Campus Front of India, a student movement. He was also active during the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests.

Sanjida Rahman said that her husband was again being taken to Lucknow this month when his condition worsened in the vehicle. “After his surgery last year, I have never been allowed to speak to him again. I would only speak to him momentarily when my father and brother-in-law would go to meet him,” she said. 

This time after his condition worsened, Sanjida said that her father was informed about it. On reaching the hospital, the family saw that Rahman was “no longer in his senses”. 

While the previous bail application has been rejected, Sanjida said that the family has again appealed for bail, unsure of what would happen next. “If we can’t live freely then how is our country a democracy?” she questioned. 

While Sanjida had to come back home to look after her seven-year-old son whose health condition worsened after seeing his father’s condition on a video call, Sanjida said that she is constantly worried about her husband’s health and the future. 

“If anything happens to my husband, can the government and police return my children’s father?” she asked. “Our only fault is that we’re Muslims. Otherwise, those who actually deserve punishments are being released. And innocent Muslims are being jailed.”

While requesting the urgent release of her husband, Sanjida said that Atikur Rahman is no longer in a condition where he can live in jail. “He needs family support. His mental condition is no longer stable. They should just tell us what his mistake is. This isn’t justice,” she said.

Saifan, Atikur Rahman’s lawyer told Maktoob that the bail application has been filed and the hearing will be conducted on 8 September. “We are also filing another application for directions to AIIMS,” he said. 

Meanwhile, the Campus Front of India organized a Twitter campaign to demand his immediate release.

“He didn’t receive the proper care and hygiene that he needed in such worse health condition,” Imran PJ, Media and PR Secretary at Campus Front of India said.

“It is impossible to lead a healthy life for a heart patient in overcrowded prisons. It is evident that the UP government is killing those who raise their voices against their atrocities as they did to father Stan Swamy,” read a recent statement by the Campus Front of India.

“Campus Front national secretariat demands the judiciary grant him immediate bail to save a young man’s life.”

Rights activists, groups and netizens also joined the campaign.

A joint statement signed by MPs Abdul Khaleque and Hanumanthaia, MLC BK Hariprasad and over two dozen rights activists and scholars demanded the immediate release of Rahman.

Here are some tweets:

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