This Article is From Nov 26, 2020

For 20 Days, Stan Swamy, 83, Has Been Asking For A Straw And Sipper

Earlier this month, the NIA which arrested father Stan Swamy from his residence in Ranchi on October 8, had sought 20 days' time to respond to his request as a Parkinson's Disease patient.

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, will have to wait till at least next Friday for a straw and a sipper cup which he needs as a Parkinson's Disease patient and winter clothes.

The National Investigation Agency or the NIA has filed a reply on the petition of Mr Swamy seeking the return of the straw and sipper confiscated during his arrest, telling a special court in Pune that the agency did not take them.

"Stan Swamy was never taken to NIA custody so we never had any of his belongings. He was sent to judicial custody straight away so he has to request to jail authorities. We are not aware if he has made same request to jail authorities," an NIA official said, requesting not to be named.

After the agency's response, the special court rejected Father Stan Swamy's application and the activist has moved a fresh application seeking permission to use a straw and a sipper and winter clothes inside the jail.

The court has sought the response of the jail authorities and adjourned the matter till December 4.

Earlier this month, the NIA which arrested Mr Swamy from his residence in Ranchi on October 8, had sought 20 days' time to respond to his request for the straw and sipper. Mr Swamy had moved his request on November 6.

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 two months 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, 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 involves the 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.