Mumbai: Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), a human rights organisation headed by social activist Teesta Setalvad has written an open letter to Maharashtra Chief minister Uddhav Thakarey, pleading for temporary bail for arrestees who have been accused of Elgar Parishad and Bhima Koregaon violence case, citing the pandemic spread within the jail. In the letter, the human rights organisation detailed the deteriorating health of five arrestees and the lack of medical attention they received.
"We have learnt about some deeply disturbing incidents related to their health, which warrants their immediate release on temporary bail," the letter read.It mentions explicitly the health conditions of Father Stan Swamy, who is 84 years old, Prof Hany Babu (aged 55), Adv Sudha Bharadwaj (aged 60), Adv Surendra Gadling and Mahesh Raut.
The organisation alleged that the arrestees were denied their basic democratic rights. In Taloja prison, the authorities are not allowing required medicinal supplies and are not allowing the arrestees to contact their family by any means. They are mentally harassing them, and letters to and from the jail take nearly a month to reach their destination after the scrutiny of officers, says the the letter.
The letter read that the jail authorities violate the court orders by denying the arrestees ample time for video calling their families. Also, the pandemic is spreading inside prisons, infecting both inmates and staff.
"It is imperative for all these arrested persons' right to health to be released without any further delay," the letter further says, after citing the Supreme Court's order to decongest jails in view of pandemic spread. The letter also argued that undertrials and prisoners also have the Right to Life, and health, guaranteed by Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.
In two years, the NIA had arrested 15 people for conspiring terrorist acts regarding the violence that raged in the bicentenary celebration of the Bhima-Koregaon battle, held in January 2018. They were detained in phases and charged under provisions of anti-terror law Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and IPC sections 153 A, 505 (1)(b), 117. Also, Sections 13, 16, 18, 18B, 20 and 39 of the UAPA.