Elgar Parishad case: Prof. Hany Babu denied treatment for eye infection at jail

Mumbai: Associate professor at Delhi University Hany Babu, who was arrested in connection with the Elgar Parishad case in July 2020, has been denied proper medical treatment for an acute eye infection he developed, the family alleged.

An undertrial prisoner, Prof. Hany Babu is lodged at Mumbai’s Taloja prison. Due to a swelling caused by the infection, he has little or no vision in his left eye, which has spread to the cheek, ear and forehead, compromising other vital organs as well, the professor’s wife, Jenny Rowena said in a statement.

It poses a significant risk to his life if it spreads to the brain, she said, adding that he is in agonising pain to be able to sleep or perform daily chores. 

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“Due to an acute water shortage in the prison, he does not have access to clean water to even bathe his eye and is forced to dress his eye with soiled towels,” the statement further read.

Rowena, brothers Harish and Ansari wrote that Hany Babu had experienced pain in his left eye on May 3 and since there was no specialised doctor at the jail, he requested a consultation with a hospital. The statement says that he was told that an escort was not available and was taken to a government hospital in Vashi only on May 7, after his lawyers emailed the jail authorities.

The statement said that an ophthalmologist prescribed medicine and asked him to return for follow-up treatment in two days. It was claimed that this was not done till Tuesday despite requests, with jail authorities again claiming that no escorts were available.

“Through the last few days, we have been beside ourselves with anxiety. The thought of Hany Babu having to beg for something as basic as essential health services is heart wrenching,” the family members wrote.

They requested immediate access to proper medical care and transparency in case of such a serious illness. “After all, we are only asking for the rights granted and guaranteed under the Constitution of India,” they concluded.55-year-old Prof. Hany Babu was arrested on July 28 last year by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and has since been in Taloja central prison. The prison, meant to accommodate 2,124 prisoners, is overcrowded and houses over 3,500 (at 166% occupancy) prisoners, The Wire mentioned in a report.

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