The Bombay High Court on Wednesday issued summons in Delhi University Professor Hany Babu’s plea asking for medical assistance for an eye infection that he got after contracting Covid-19, reported PTI. Babu, an undertrial prisoner in the Bhima Koregaon case, tested positive for Covid-19 last week and was admitted to a hospital in Mumbai.
The Delhi University professor’s lawyer, Yug Chaudhry, moved a vacation bench comprised of Justices SJ Kathawalla and SP Tavade, appealing for an urgent hearing. The plea noted that Babu had developed the eye infection after contracting mucormycosis, also known as “black fungus”, which was being reported among several Covid-19 patients.
“Hany Babu is suffering from eye infection due to the black fungus,” his counsel said, according to PTI. “For nine days he suffered in jail. At the moment, he is in the GT Hospital. He is being treated only for Covid-19 and not the eye infection. He may lose his eyesight. He is an academician.”
The bench then asked the dean of Mumbai’s GT hospital to be present during the virtual hearing of the professor’s plea at 3 pm.
According to Babu’s family, he started experiencing pain and swelling in the left eye on May 3, which soon developed into double vision and severe pain. By May 11, he had little or no vision in his left eye due to the swelling, which has spread to the cheek, ear and forehead, compromising other vital organs as well, they said.
The family said that when the academic first showed signs of the infection, he immediately requested for consultation and treatment with a specialised doctor. But he was not taken to a doctor, because an escort officer was not available, according to the family.
On May 13, Babu’s family said that he was admitted to JJ Hospital a day earlier, after his lawyer Payoshi Roy made multiple calls and sent an e-mail to the Taloja Jail, where he was lodged. The jail officials informed Babu’s wife about him being admitted to the hospital. However, she was not told anything about Babu’s diagnosis or treatment, the family had alleged.
Bhima Koregaon case
Several activists and academicians have been jailed in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case. They were accused of making inflammatory speeches at the Elgar Parishad conclave held at Shaniwar Wada in Pune on December 31, 2017, which the authorities claim triggered the violence at Bhima-Koregaon war memorial on the next day. One person was killed and several others were injured in the incident.
The first chargesheet was filed by the Pune Police in November 2018, which ran to over 5,000 pages. It named activists Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, all of whom were arrested in June 2018. The police claimed that those arrested had “active links” with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), and accused the activists of plotting to kill Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
A supplementary chargesheet was filed in February 2019, against human rights activists Sudha Bharadwaj, Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves and banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) leader Ganapathy.
The Centre transferred the case to the National Investigation Agency in January 2020 after the Bharatiya Janata Party government in Maharashtra was defeated.
Eight people who have been named in the NIA chargesheet for the January 2018 violence are Hany Babu, former Indian Institute of Technology professor Anand Teltumbde, his brother Milind Teltumbde, Navlakha, three members of the cultural group Kabir Kala Manch and human rights activist Stan Swamy. Milind Teltumbde has been named as an absconding accused and top operative of CPI (Maoist) in the chargesheet.