Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad reads constitution during demonstration against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) at Jama Masjid (Express Photo by Praveen Khanna)
A Delhi court Thursday pulled up Tihar Jail authorities over the medical treatment of Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad, saying that they “flouted the law of the land” and “acted callously” by providing Azad with ordinary medicines.
The court directed jail authorities to treat Azad at AIIMS and asked the jail superintendent to ensure that Azad is “treated for Polycythemia and be given Therapeutic Phlebotomy treatment”.
Azad, though his lawyer Mehmood Pracha, had moved an application before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Arul Verma seeking urgent medical treatment claiming that he is suffering from “Polycythemia, which is a disease of the blood thickness and requires continuous checkup from the doctor concerned at AIIMS as he was at high risk of a heart attack.”
Pracha also told the court that Azad was “assaulted inside the jail premises” and asked the court to investigate the matter.
After going through the arguments, the ACMM said, “From the perusal of the record, it is explicit that the accused came to the jail dispensary and stated that he was a patient of Polycythemia. However, he was not given treatment for the same. He ought to have been administered not ordinary medical aid, but the treatment that would address his peculiar ailment...The authorities have acted in a callous manner and have seemingly flouted the law of the land as laid down by the Honourable Supreme Court of India, which has zealously safeguarded the rights of citizens, even of prisoners.”
When the proceedings began, the Tihar Jail doctor said, “I did not know that the patient (Azad) was suffering from Polycythemia, as I was just told that he had a swelling in his hands and breathlessness. Then I came to know a correspondence about his previous treatment for Polycythemia, but his genetic test for the same was negative.”
Pracha held up Azad’s medical status report to the judge and said, “In yesterday’s hearing, the report showed that Azad has Polycythemia, now he is misleading the court. His condition is accentuating and they are giving him oral medicines... He is not a hardened criminal but a political prisoner...”
As per the report, Azad had been suffering from several symptoms like allergic conjunctivitis, bodyache and watery eyes, which are manifestations of accentuated form of Polycythemia. He submitted that Tihar officials were aware of the same but did nothing about it.
Pracha said: “A man’s life is at stake. There is a conspiracy to cause him harm. They want him to die.”
Azad has been in judicial custody in Tihar jail since December 21, 2019, in connection with violent anti-CAA protests in Darya Ganj last month.
Azad’s outfit had organised a march from Jama Masjid to Jantar Mantar against the amended Citizenship Act on Friday, despite not having police permission.
Marching protesters were stopped by police and paramilitary personnel near Delhi Gate, after which they allegedly damaged a few cars and set one on fire. Police had resorted to lathicharge and used water cannons to control the situation.