Atikur Rahman's Health Deteriorating, says Family
Rahman was arrested in October 2020 along with journalist Siddique Kappan
The family of rights activist Atikur Rahman, who has become "partially paralysed" allegedly due to lack of medical families will move Lucknow High Court to demand his release.
Rahman was arrested in October 2020 while on his way to Uttar Pradesh's Hathras, along with journalist Siddique Kappan. Reports started emerging of his health rapidly declining, following which the civil society has come forward and demanded his release.
Rahman's wife Sanjida Rahman spoke to The Citizen and said that he is disoriented and is having speech difficulties. "In such a situation he should at least get bail," she said.
Concerned, Sanjida said that the authorities are not paying heed to their demands and she is scared. "His condition is so bad, at least pity him now. I mean there is nothing left now, why are they still doing it? It is not even about justice now; it's about sparing his life as it dangles," she added.
Rahman underwent heart surgery at AIIMS in November 2021. He was allowed to go for the surgery only after an urgent plea was moved by his family in the Allahabad high court.
Rahman's lawyer Saifan Sheikh spoke to The Citizen and said that the activist was not allowed to have proper recovery post his surgery. "At this moment he is not able to recognise anyone as well," he said.
Rahman was discharged from the hospital on Monday and sent back to jail, according to his lawyer. "The doctors at the jail recommended Rahman be sent to King George's Medical University in Lucknow Hospital, where the doctors said he needs to be seen by neurologists," Sheikh added.
After Rahman was discharged by the hospital on Monday night, the doctors had recommended he be shown to neurology, however the police took him back to prison. "The police are saying that they need the permission of the doctors, which will take two days and it is only after that he can be shifted," Sheikh said.
Rahman was asked to follow a list of instructions, including dietary restrictions and visiting the OPD on a regular basis, after the surgery. However, since these instructions were not followed properly by the jail authorities, as alleged by his family, his condition has worsened.
According to Sheikh, Rahman has been suffering from aortic regurgitation – a condition that occurs when your heart's aortic valve doesn't close properly. As a result, some of the blood pumped out of the heart's main pumping chamber (left ventricle) leaks back.
Rahman's wife who is fearful for his wife said all hope is dimming for her. "I still had hope till now but now I have no hope left as well. Look at his condition, what hope am I supposed to have?" she said.
Sheikh, meanwhile, said they are going to file a writ petition in the High Court for the same.
"Koi meri baat ko aawam tak pahuncha de, unhe kuch hua to hamara kya hoga. (I am just begging someone to take my plea and let people know about it. What will happen to us if something happens to us)," said Sanjida Rahman.
Rahman was an activist as well as a PhD student at Meerut's Chaudhary Charan Singh University. He was active in the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests.
As reports of Rahman's ill health spread, civil society on Monday organised a protest in solidarity with the activist at Delhi' Jantar Mantar. Activist Fazia, who was part of the protest said, "this government's propaganda runs through the Muslims in this country. They want to make our own people our enemy. This government is clearly in power with our blood on its hand. Right now, our major demand is to release Rahman."
Rahman and Malayalam journalist Kappan were arrested when they were on their way to meet the family of the Dalit woman, who was raped and killed in Hathras. Both Rahman and Kappan are now lodged in Mathura jail.
On Tuesday, the Uttar Pradesh government opposed the bail plea filed by Kappan in the Supreme Court. Kappan was booked by the Uttar Pradesh government under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), saying he has close links with the extremist organisation Popular Front of India (PFI).
"Mr Kappan has 'deep links' with terror funding/ planning organisations like PFI and its student wing, Campus Front of India (CFI). These organisations have allegedly been found to have connections with Al Qaeda-linked organisations like IHH in Turkey," the Uttar Pradesh government has stated in its affidavit.
It added, "the investigation of the case has revealed that the Petitioner has a deep nexus with the extremist PFI and its chapters including CFI, and its top leadership, in particular P Koya, ex-SIMI member, PFI Executive member, and Editor in Chief of Thejas. P Koya, along with EM Abdul Rahman, has connections and interactions with Al Qaeda linked organization IHH in Turkey."
The journalist approached the top court against the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on August 2 that had rejected his bail application saying "the use of tainted money cannot be ruled out".
Earlier, the top court sought the Uttar Pradesh government's response to Kappan's bail plea. The hearing on the bail plea will take place on September 9.