This Article is From Nov 07, 2020

Arrested Activist, 83, Requests Straw Citing Parkinson's. NIA Wants Time

Mr Swamy suffers from Parkinson's Disease - a debilitating disorder of central nervous system that can cause involuntary tremors, or muscular spasms

Stan Swamy, 83, is accused of instigating the Bhima-Koregaon violence (File)


Father Stan Swamy, the 83-year-old tribal rights activist arrested last month over his alleged involvement in the Bhima-Koregaon case, has moved the special court in Mumbai for permission to use a straw and sipper cup while drinking.

The NIA (National Investigation Agency), which arrested Mr Swamy - who has been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease - from his residence in Ranchi on October 8, has sought 20 days time to respond.

The court, which must grant permission for materials to be sent from outside jail premises, has posted the matter for hearing next on November 26.

Parkinson's is a debilitating disorder of the central nervous system that can cause involuntary tremors, or muscular spasms, which makes carrying out even everyday actions, such as drinking, difficult. In addition, some patients also develop problems swallowing or chewing.

"I cannot hold a glass as my hands are unsteady due to Parkinson's," Mr Swamy, who has been at the Taloja Central Jail for nearly a month and is currently in the prison hospital, said in his application.

Late last month a special NIA court rejected Mr Swamy's bail application, which had been filed on medical grounds.

The NIA had opposed bail, declaring that the octogenarian had been booked under the stringent UAPA (Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act) and was therefore not allowed bail.

The Bhima-Koregaon case refers to violence that erupted in the vicinity of a war memorial in the village of that name on January 1, 2018. This was allegedly after provocative speeches were made during the Elgar Parishad conclave held a day earlier at Shaniwarwada in Pune.

The NIA claims Mr Swamy is linked to CPI (Maoist) activities and had a role in instigating violence.

Mr Swamy's arrest in October was met with outrage across the country, with Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren accusing the central government of "crossing all limits". 

Others, including CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, and DMK leader Kanimozhi, dubbed the arrest an attack on civil liberties.