84 years old tribal rights activist Fr. Stan Swamy who has been languishing in jail for nine months now, was put on ventilator support at the Holy Family Hospital in Mumbai on Sunday. Swamy was arrested in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case under UAPA along with more than 10 other human rights activists and lawyers.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) called for the protection of the basic human rights of Swamy and issued a notice to the chief secretary of the Maharashtra government and directed the authorities to ensure that every possible effort is made to provide proper medical care and treatment to him.
Common people and rights organisations took to various social media platform on Sunday to demand for better medical facilities for Swamy and his immediate release from jail.
Stan Swamy's health has deteriorated and he is on ventilator support. The NIA and central government are solely responsible for the sufferings of this elderly person and the current state of affair. The NIA court also played its role. 1/n @TeestaSetalvad @sardesairajdeep pic.twitter.com/rKM1tFZEvQ
— Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (@JharkhandJanad1) July 4, 2021
Mary Lawlor, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defender tweeted about Swamy’s arrested on unfounded charges and demanded specialised medical treatment for him.
Horrible news to learn that Indian HRD Fr. Stan Swamy is in very serious condition&was put on a ventilator last night.He's spent 9 months in jail on unfounded charges.I’m deeply saddened&expect that every possible specialist treatment will be provided to him
— Mary Lawlor UN Special Rapporteur HRDs (@MaryLawlorhrds) July 4, 2021
Swamy, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease had tested positive for COVID19 in May after the Bombay High court had ordered prison authorities to shift him to a hospital faculty. As his condition didn’t show improvement the court on June 17 had extended his stay in the hospital till July 5, the Scroll.in reported.
During the course of his stay in jail, his health has deteriorated on multiple occasions. For a long time now human rights groups, civil society organizations, and the political left have demanded his release on the ground of his consistently worsening health and old age.
On Saturday, Swamy had moved the Bombay High Court challenging section 43D(5) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act stating that the section creates an “insurmountable hurdle” for anybody accused under the law to get bail. The plea also said that the section, therefore, violates the fundamental rights of the accused enshrined under Articles 14 (right to equality) and 21 (right to life and personal liberty) in the constitution.