Condition in Jail Grim: Swamy’s Friends Demand Medical Attention
Stan Swamy was arrested on 9 October 2020 for his alleged involvement in the Bhima Koregaon case of 2018.
Calling attention to the poor health condition of 84-year-old Father Stan Swamy inside the Taloja jail, friends and families demanded immediate medical attention.
Fr Swamy was arrested on 9 October 2020 for his alleged involvement in the Bhima Koregaon case of 2018.
“Stan Swamy is severely unwell. Yet to be tested for COVID or vaccinated. Taloja (Jail) does not even have an allopathic doctor. Similar situation of many BK16 accused. We appeal to Maharashtra CM to immediately ensure adequate medical treatment, testing and vaccine to Stan and others,” Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha had tweeted.
The 84-year-old Jesuit priest had cough, fever, a bad stomach and was feeling very weak and fragile, said Father Joseph Xavier after he spoke to him on the morning of 14 May.
Swamy was reportedly denied vaccination as he does not have his Aadhaar card.
Harshali Potdar, activist, Republican Panthers Jatiya Antachi Chalwal, pointed out that several staff and canteen members at the Taloja jail had tested positive for COVID-19.
She said co-accused Sudhir Dhawale (arrested on 6 June 2018), along with Vernon Gonsalves (arrested on 28 August 2018), were in the same barrack where eight others had tested positive, but they were still not being tested.
The jail authorities had also reportedly threatened to stop all phone calls and meetings with the family members, if the inmates complained.
NCP MP Supriya Sule called for the immediate release of all elderly persons with several health ailments who are in jail.
Several family members of the accused have raised concerns that Taloja Jail does not have equipment for basic testing of COVID-19 and medicines.
Father Stan Swamy is a tribal rights activist based in Jharkhand who has worked in the state for over three decades on various issues of the Adivasi communities on land, forest and labour rights. He has questioned the non-implementation of the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution, which stipulated setting up of a Tribes Advisory Council with members solely of the Adivasi community. He had challenged the “indiscriminate” arrest of thousands of young Adivasis and moolvasis with investigating agencies labelling them as “Naxals”.
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