Mumbai: The Special NIA Court, on Thursday, directed the Taloja prison to respond to Fr Stan Swamy’s request for a straw and sipper in jail, soon after which, the 83-year-old Jesuit priest applied for bail.
Fr Stan had previously sought direction for the NIA to return his straw and sipper that they had allegedly seized during his arrest, citing that he needs them to eat and drink because his hands shake due to Parkinson’s disease. After the central agency denied having confiscated these items, the priest’s lawyer, Sharif Shaikh filed a fresh application to obtain these items, as well as clothing to keep him warm during the winter.
Directing the prison authorities to respond to the applications, Special NIA Judge D E Kothalikar posted the hearing of the applications for December 4, India Times reported.
A tribal rights activist in Jharkhand who was arrested by the NIA last month, Fr Stan, who is being lodged at the Taloja prison near Mumbai, cited various medical ailments in the bail application, such as Parkinson’s disease, abdominal pain, lumbar spondylosis, hearing loss in both ears, among others. He has, in fact, been “moved to the Prison hospital and is being taken care of by other inmates”, the bail application adds, according to a report by Live Law.
It can be recalled that Fr Stan, founder of Bagaicha (an organization dedicated to empowering the Adivasi and Moolvasi communities), was arrested by the NIA on October 8 from his residence in Ranchi in connection with the caste-based violence that took place at Bhima Koregaon on January 1, 2018.
Alleging that he has been framed in the case because of his work, Fr Stan, in his bail application, argues that the NIA failed to establish any prima facie case against him or his involvement in the 2018 Bhima Koregaon violence case.
The application finally adds: “There is no risk of flight and jumping of bail. The prosecution arrested him after two and a half years of filing of FIR. In fact the arrest of the Applicant itself was uncalled for. He had cooperated with the investigation which is borne out by the fact that the Chargesheet was filed on the date when he was arrested without seeking any kind of NIA remand, and that he was not arrested during the long investigation lasting more than 2 years itself shows that he was never seen as a flight risk or someone who would tamper with evidence. It was a mala fide arrest.”
It can be recalled that Fr Stan’s arrest back in October sparked outrage across the country, especially in the Christian community, as he was well-known for being a champion of tribal rights.