Ranchi: Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, an umbrella body of civil society has written to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in connection with 83-year-old undertrial prisoner and human rights activist Stan Swamy. The Mahasabha not only expressed concerned on the inhuman treatment being meted out to the senior citizen cum veteran activist by National Investigative Agency (NIA) but also demanded intervention from Maharashtra CM as well as Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren on the issue.
Stan Swamy, a human and tribal rights activist is probably the oldest prisoner who has been accused of terrorism by NIA. Through the letter, Mahasabha argued from CM Uddhav Thackeray to start trial against the real culprits of Bhima-Koregaon incident– Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide.
For our readers, we are carrying the letter, as it is:
Shri Uddhav Thackeray
Chief Minister cum Home Minister
Dear Shri Thackeray
Appeal to ensure amenities and dignity to undertrial activist Stan Swamy
This is to bring to your attention the current health condition of 83-year old Father Stan Swamy, currently lodged as an undertrial in the Taloja jail. He is a Parkinsons patient with severe tremors in both his hands. As a result, he has trouble drinking water from a glass, taking bath and washing clothes on his own. He also has serious hearing problem and needs hearing aid for both ears. He was operated twice for hernia in the recent past.
He was arrested on 8th October 2020 by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) from his residence in Ranchi in the Bhima-Koregaon case. He carried along with him some medicines for the chronic Parkinsons illness. He also carried a steel-straw sipper, which was a necessary item for him to drink any liquid food item. He was not allowed to take his sipper with him inside the jail. 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. It is also disappointing that the court simply rejected Stan Swamy’s plea without addressing the basic issue. We would also like to bring to your notice that jail authorities refused to allow Stan Swamy access to warm clothes sent by his family.
This is a serious violation of basic rights of an elderly person with disability. While the NIA and central government continue to harass activists through the Bhima-Koregaon case, it is also the responsibility of the Maharashtra government to ensure amenities and dignity to the undertrial activists.
The jail authorities finally gave a sipper to Stan Swamy on 29 November after widespread condemnation from all quarters. 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. 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.
We would also take this opportunity to appeal to the Maharashtra government to arrest 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. It would expose the blatant attempts by the NIA to target activists, lawyers and intellectuals by building a false narrative of maoist conspiracy in this case.
On behalf of Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha
Copy to – Shri Hemant Soren, Chief Minister, Jharkhand with a request for intervention in ensuring justice to Stan Swamy