Gautam Navlakha, a 70-year-old civil rights activist and former columnist with Newsclick, has been jailed since April under UAPA in connection with the Elgar Parishad case. His partner Sahba Husain in a statement on 7 December alleged that his spectacles were stolen on 27 November and a replacement pair she sent has been refused to be received by Taloja jail authorities in Kharghar, Navi Mumbai.
Navlakha is a patient of several ailments, is considered high risk in the COVID-19 pandemic, and has very poor vision without his glasses. His partner alleges that he was not allowed to call for a replacement until three days later on 30 November, but even those attempts proved futile.
The family informed the jail authorities that Navlakha is “close to blind without his glasses” and a replacement package would be sent for him by post. The authorities, however, refused to accept the parcel on 7 December, Husain says.
Without his spectacles, Navlakha’s partner says that his blood pressure has shot up due to acute distress as he is unable to gauge his surroundings without it. She further adds that every prisoner has constiutional rights, and Navlakha’s rights have been violated just like 80-year old activist Stan Swamy who has been unable to get a sipper in Taloja prison.