Ranchi: Strong demand has been raised to shift Stan Swamy, 84-year old Adivasi rights activist from Jharkhand, who is in Taloja Jail in Maharashtra to a good hospital.
Stan was arrested by NIA under UAPA in the Bhima Koregaon case on the 8th of October 2020 and has been lodged in Taloja jail, near Mumbai. He has spent his entire life fighting for Adivasi rights and the rights of the underprivileged.
Several human rights organizations released a press communiqué and not only appealed to Chief Minister Hemant Soren to intervene in the matter as the health of 84-year-old activist is deteriorating fast, but also pressed for the bail of the octogenarian prisoner during the pandemic time.
Stan is a Parkinson’s disease patient with severe tremors in both hands. As a result, he has trouble drinking from a glass, taking bath and washing clothes on his own. He also has a serious hearing problem and needs a hearing aid for both ears. He was operated on twice for a hernia in the recent past.
On the 14th of May, Stan called up his colleague and shared that he was unwell. For the first time since his arrest, he said that he was feeling very weak and fragile. This was surprising as Stan usually prefers to bear his pain quietly as he does not want to bother others. Following that he was too weak even to speak on the phone and his condition had to be described by others. Stan has fever, cough and a running stomach. He was given antibiotics by the ayurvedic doctor of the jail. Those medicines did not help much. He was not tested for Covid in jail. He had also not received vaccination against covid.
There are reports of rising Covid cases in the Taloja jail, where testing and treatment facilities are minimum. According to reports, a 22-year old man died in the last week in Taloja jail. Some of the other co-accused in the Bhima Koregaon case has been seriously ill in the jail and tested positive on being taken to hospital after prolonged requests from family members. After incessant requests and appeals from friends and colleagues, Stan Swamy was finally taken to J.J. hospital at 5 pm on the 18th of May, but only to be taken back to the jail after doing some tests around midnight. In this situation, we are greatly concerned and fear for Stan’s life if he is not shifted immediately to a hospital with proper facilities for adequate medical treatment.
“We, the undersigned, demand that Stan be urgently shifted to a good hospital. We must add that Stan is an elderly and ailing person, with limited mobility and no history of violence against others. He should also be immediately released on bail. We implore the Chief Minister of Jharkhand to immediately intervene on his behalf,” reads the letter issued.