Centre to Address 'Havana Syndrome' Issue in India

  • 11 Aug 2023

On 9th August, 2023, the Centre responded to a petition in the Karnataka High Court, expressing its commitment to investigate the 'Havana Syndrome' issue in India.

Key Points:

  • Centre's Response: The Centre has assured the Karnataka High Court of its intention to address the 'Havana Syndrome' concern within India.
  • This follows a petition filed by A Amarnath Chagu, who sought an inquiry and preventive measures against the mysterious illness.
  • Mandate under Article 350: The petitioner's lawyer highlighted that authorities are obligated to address the issue in accordance with law, referring to the mandate under Article 350 of the Indian Constitution.
  • Article 350 grants every individual the right to submit grievances to Union or State authorities in any language used in the respective Union or State.
  • Understanding Havana Syndrome: The 'Havana Syndrome' was first reported in 2016 when CIA employees stationed in Cuba's Havana reported experiencing unusual symptoms such as migraines, nausea, memory lapses, dizziness, and hearing sounds without apparent external sources.
  • The exact cause of the syndrome remains elusive, although potential connections to high-frequency microwave emissions have been suggested.
  • Reported Cases and International Scope: Cases of the Havana syndrome have been reported among US intelligence and embassy officials in various countries, including Moscow, Tbilisi, Poland, Taiwan, and Australia.
  • In March 2018, Canadian diplomats in Cuba displayed brain damage symptoms similar to those faced by their US counterparts, which drew attention to the syndrome's impact.
  • US Response and Legal Measures: The US conducted assessments, ruling out foreign involvement in most cases, and passed the HAVANA (Helping American Victims Afflicted by Neurological Attacks Act) law in 2021. This law authorizes payments to intelligence personnel and diplomats who suffered injuries attributed to the syndrome.