Tribal rights activist Stan Swamy dies in Mumbai jail

Mumbai: Tribal Rights Activist Stan Swamy breathed his last at Mumbai’s Bhadra Hospital on Monday, where he had been admitted after a prolonged illness. The 84-year-old Jesuit priest had tested positive for COVID and was shifted out of the Taloja central prison Mumbai to a private hospital over a month ago.

Earlier on Sunday, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) asked the Maharashtra chief secretary to ensure that every possible effort is made to provide jailed rights activist Swamy with proper medical care and treatment. Swamy was arrested in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case.

Issuing a statement, the NHRC said. “Looking into the complaint alleging serious health condition of imprisoned Stan Swamy (84 years), it has today issued a notice to the Chief Secretary, Government of Maharashtra, calling upon him to ensure that every possible effort is made in providing him proper medical care and treatment as part of life-saving measure and protection of his basic human rights.” The Commission has also called for a report in the light of the allegations made in the complaint and the treatment record of FR Swamy, who is very old and lodged in Taloja Jail, Navi Mumbai, it said.

It stated that this direction has come in continuation with the earlier order of the Commission wherein it had advised the state government of Maharashtra to provide adequate medical care and treatment to Stan Swamy, who is hospitalised in Holy Family Hospital, and submit a report within four weeks.

Earlier, the Commission had received a complaint on May 16, 2021, that Swamy, lodged in Taloja Central Jail, Navi Mumbai was being denied medical facility during the COVID period, said NHRC.

According to the NHRC, it was also alleged that he had not been vaccinated yet and that there was no proper medical care in the jail hospital.

The Petitioner further alleged that the majority of jail staff had tested Covid positive especially most of the kitchen staff. The number of under-trial prisoners had also contracted the coronavirus and no RT-PCR tests were conducted there, it added.

Swamy, who was arrested in October last year, was sent to judicial custody immediately and since has been in Taloja prison. Here, he had to move courts each time he fell sick or needed access to healthcare. Suffering from advanced Parkinson’s disease, Swamy needed a sipper to drink water. Even that sipper was made available to him only after an application to the court.


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