The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:

The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) expresses grave concern over the deteriorating health condition of several jailed political and human rights activists. Some of them have been reported to have contracted Covid-19 in jail. The deplorable conditions in the overcrowded jails, which lack even basic facilities has contributed immensely to their deteriorating health condition. Many of them have co-morbidities and have been on medications since long.

It has been reported that Akhil Gogoi has tested positive for Covid-19. Varavara Rao’s health condition is also been reported to be alarming. Given the cramped and unhygienic conditions in the jails, there is every possibility that prominent human rights activists like Gautam Navlakha, Anand Teltumbde Sudha Bharadwaj, Shoma Sen etc., jailed on trumped up charges are at risk of catching the infection. Among the other political prisoners, the condition of Prof. Saibaba is even worse. A person with 90 per cent disability, he has 19 medical conditions, many of which are life threatening. Even UN Special rapporteurs on human rights had last year demanded his release given his health condition.

The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) therefore demands that all political prisoners be released on bail immediately and provided adequate medical care.