Human Rights activist Father Stan Swamy embraces death in custodytext_fields
Tribal rights activist, Father Stan Swamy, who was put on a ventilator after his health deteriorated further early Sunday passed away at 1.30 PM on Monday. The 84-year-old Jesuit priest who was arrested in the Elgaar Parishad case last year was in Custody, though he was admitted to a private hospital in Mumbai on May 30 following the directions of the Bombay High Court
On Saturday, his lawyer, Mihir Desai, had informed the HC, which is hearing Swamy's bail pleas, that the latter continued to be in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). The Jesuit priest spent the last eight months before his hospital admission in Taloja Central Prison, where his condition progressively deteriorated.
He is the last political dissenter to be arrested by the National Investigation Agency under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in the Bhima Koregaon- Elgar Parishad Case, on October 8, 2020.
Senior Advocate Mihir Desai, Swamy's counsel, while hearing the bail application at around 2.30 PM today before the bench comprising Justices SS Shinde and NJ Jamadar said that the doctor who was treating the jailed Jesuit priest wanted to say something.
Dr Dsouza of Holy Family hospital Mumbai, where Stan Swamy was admitted for treatment, informed the bench that Father Stan Swamy has passed away, reports Live Law
"On Saturday he went into cardiac arrest at 4.30 am, we couldn't revive him", the doctor added.
"With all humility at our command, we are sorry to know that he has passed away. We are shocked. We passed orders for his hospital admission on the first day", the bench observed.
Desai also informed the court that there were no complaints with the treatment at Holy Family hospital. The court directed hand over the body of Father Stan Swamy to Father Francis, the retired Principal of St Xavier's College who was allowed to meet him in the hospital by the Court.
"He was a priest. He doesn't have a family. The Jesuits are his only family", Desai told the bench.
The Court also directed the authorities to conduct his postmortem examination, as he died in custody, and deposit the autopsy report before it.
Stan Swamy was suffering from Parkinson's disease and other geriatric ailments.
Although Swamy had filed an application seeking bail on medical grounds, the Bombay High Court on May 28th this year, directed the Maharashtra government to transfer the ailing 84-year-old tribal rights activist to the Holy Family Hospital from Taloja Central Jail for treatment.
While undergoing treatment, he had tested positive for COVID-19.
One of the oldest to be charged under the stringent UAPA, Father Swamy suffered from acute Parkinson's, hearing loss in both ears, has undergone two hernia operations. He also suffered intense pain due to lumbar spondylosis i.e wear and tear of the lumbar disc, and tremors in both hands.
During an earlier hearing before the vacation bench, Father Swamy had refused to get admitted to a hospital, pleading with the court to grant him interim bail so that he could be on his own. He told the court that his condition has progressively deteriorated in prison.
'I Would Rather Suffer, Possibly Die Very Shortly If This Were To Go On… my deterioration is more powerful than the small tablets that they give," Father Swamy had said.
However, his counsel Senior Advocate Mihir Desai had requested the court for time to convince him to take treatment in a hospital. Finally, Desai had moved the court on May 28, on an urgent request that his condition was deteriorating rapidly. The bench led by Justice Shinde had directed the State to transfer Swamy to a private hospital immediately for 15 days.
Later, the Court extended his hospital stay from time to time, taking note of his critical condition.
Father Stan was arrested on October 8, 2020, and charged under various sections of the IPC and offences under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for allegedly furthering the cause of the banned CPI (Maoist) through various civil rights organisations he belongs to. He is accused, along with 15 other human rights activists.
Father Stan is the founder of Bagaicha, an organisation dedicated to empowering Adivasis, including fighting against illegal detention of minors charged with being Maoists.
The NIA has claimed that Bagaicha is connected with Vistapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan (VVJVA) and the latter is also a frontal organisation of the CPI (Maoist).