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Maharashtra govt blamed for not providing basic facilities to Stan Swamy in Taloja jail

By Our Representative

A well-known Jharkhand civil rights organization has blamed the Maharashtra government for failing to ensure “basic rights” 83-year-old Father Stan Swamy, a state human rights activist, currently lodged as an undertrial in Mumbai’s Taloja jail. In a letter to state chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, it regretted, the jail authorities only provided with a sipper to the human rights activist, suffering from Parkinson’s “on November 29 after widespread condemnation from all quarters.”
Arrested on October 8, 2020 by NIA from his residence in Ranchi in the Bhima-Koregaon case, Stan Swamy had “carried along with him some medicines for the chronic Parkinson’s” as also “a steel-straw sipper, which was a necessary item for him to drink any liquid food item”, the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JJM) said in the letter, a copy of which has been sent to Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren.
Yet, “he was not allowed to take his sipper with him inside the jail”, the letter said, regretting, “When Stan Swamy placed his request before the NIA court to allow him to get his sipper back, the court did not hear his plea immediately. After 20 days, the NIA bluntly denied in the court that the sipper had been taken during the arrest.”
All this happened despite the fact that, because of Parkinson’s, Stan Swamy has trouble in “taking bath and washing clothes on his own”, the letter said, adding, “He also has serious hearing problem and needs hearing aid for both ears. He was operated twice for hernia in the recent past.”
Calling it a “serious” human rights violation, and stating that while NIA and the Central government are responsible for “harassing activists through the Bhima-Koregaon case”, the letter, signed by senior JMM activists, said, “It is also the responsibility of the Maharashtra government to ensure amenities and dignity to the undertrial activists.”
“We appeal to the Maharashtra government to ensure all amenities including warm clothes, health support and dignity to Stan Swamy, considering his age and illness”, the letter insisted, pointing out, “Stan Swamy is a valued and public-spiritedness citizen who has worked for Adivasi rights since decades in Jharkhand. We have the highest regard for him and his work.”
The JMM letter also asked Thackeray to ensure arrest of “the actual perpetrators of the violence in Bhima-Koregaon in January 2018 – primarily Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide (leaders of Shiv Pratishthan Hindustan and Hindu Ekta Aghadi) – and ensure speedy trial of their case”, underlining, “It would expose the blatant attempts by NIA to target activists, lawyers and intellectuals by building a false narrative of Maoist conspiracy in this case.”

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