Original video can be accessed here.

FR. STAN SWAMY, a Jesuit Priest based in Ranchi who has spent over 60 years of his life fighting for the rights of the poor, the dalits and the Adivasis. On 8 October 2020, he was arrested and charge sheeted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for his alleged role in the 2018 Bhima Koregaon violence and links to the Communist Party of India (Maoist). Stan Swamy suffers from Parkinson’s disease apart from other age related morbidities. He has fallen multiple times while in prison.He suffers from hearing loss in both ears and had undergone surgeries Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan both demanded justice for Fr. Stan Swamy. He has since been remanded to Taloja Jail and denied bail even on health grounds. Now news coming from Taloja jail is not good at all. Fr. Stan Swamy. On May 15th, several family members of the 15 prisoners accused in the Bhima Koregaon-Elgaar Parishad case addressed the press via an online press conference.

Fr. Joseph Xavier spoke of how Fr. Stan Swamy has never complained about his health in 7 months. But on May 14th, for the first time Fr. Stan spoke of his deteriorating health. Furthermore, he is disturbed by what he is seeing inside prison. The Jesuits and the family members are deeply concerned about his health. While Ayurvedic medicine is available inside prison, it is not good enough to address the precarious health conditions and spread of COVID-19 in Taloja prison. Being an 84-year-old suffering from Parkinson, loss of hearing and now suffering fever, cough and troubles in his stomach, it is necessary that he be provided allopathic medicine and a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. He has to be vaccinated for COVID-19 urgently. He cannot be denied vaccination just because he does not have an Aadhar card. While Fr. Stan has a hearing problem, phone calls are not adequate to communicate with him. Communication through letters have become inconsistent as letters take 1 or 2 months to reach the family and friends.

On behalf of the family members, he placed three requests to the state and the prison authorities –

1. Present a correct and clear picture of the Taloja prison conditions from the point of view of health conditions and protect the lives of the Bhima Koregaon arrestees. He said the family and friends are prepared to address the medical needs of the prisoners.

2. Facilitate access to information through letters and phone calls and to permit video calls to ensure that the prisoners can be provided emotional support.

3. Finally, considering the pandemic situation, facilitate the release of all 15 prisoners immediately on bail.

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