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Feature: Jailed human rights activist Khalid Saifi’s health deteriorating, wife seeks quick help

Zenaira Bakhsh

On Saturday evening, Nargis Saifi received a five-minute-long distressed call from her husband. With a trembling voice, Khalid Saifi informed her that his condition inside the jail was worsening.

Khalid was calling her nearly four days after his health condition had deteriorated. For the past four days, his blood sugar level had gone up to 400 and had a fever. While he had been rushed to the jail dispensary a few times.

He was only offered paracetamol, Khalid informed his wife.

“He was vomiting whatever he was eating. He had not eaten in the past four days or so. He also had loose motions and he had even soiled his clothes a few times,” Nargis told Maktoob.

When she couldn’t think of a way to help her husband, 35-year-old Nargis decided to upload a video seeking immediate medical attention for her husband. Khalid was arrested in February 2020 by the Delhi Police in connection with the Delhi pogrom and he was charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Saifi was the co-founder of the human rights group United Against Hate and a prominent social worker. Critics of Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist regime have questioned Saifi’s arrest. He is currently lodged in Mandoli jail in New Delhi.

After her plea on social media was reported, Director General (Prisons) Sandeep Goel denied Nargis’s allegations and said, “Khalid Saifi’s medical condition is alright. The jail doctor has seen him today for the complaint of mild fever. Proper medication has been given. Further treatment will be given as required.”

On Monday, however, Khalid’s lawyers filed an application in court. The court has demanded the jail authorities submit Khalid’s medical reports before July 27, said Nargis.

“The doctors have asked him to have light food but how can he if they don’t provide him with the food that he needs right now? We are not allowed to send food, then isn’t this their responsibility?” she questioned.

Khalid was diagnosed with diabetes about thirteen years ago when his blood sugar level suddenly went up to 400, said Nargis.

“I used to take care of him. But now I am powerless,” she said. “He is not being treated like a human there. People probably care more for animals than they did for him.”

In the past more than two years of his imprisonment, Nargis said that her husband would often go without his medicines for days due to a lack of medicines in the jail dispensary, while the family was never allowed to send in medicines.

“There is medical negligence and someone so ill cannot wait so long for the treatment or medicines. If something happens to him, we’ll be destroyed,” she said, adding that Khalid’s family was stressed about his life. “I have lost everything, I cannot lose him.” Courtesy Maktoob Media

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