Jailed tribal rights activist Stan Swamy on Friday told the Bombay High Court that he did not wish to be admitted to a hospital, and urged the court to consider his request for interim bail, Bar and Bench reported.
“I have been in deteriorating condition,” he said according to Bar and Bench. “I would rather be in Ranchi. I do not think any of that [hospitalisation] is going to help.”
Swamy, 84, who is in custody in connection with the 2018 Bhima Koregaon case, suffers from Parkinson’s disease.
On Friday, the activist appeared before a bench of Justices S J Kathawalla and SP Tavade from Taloja jail via video-conferencing. During the previous hearing in the case on May 19, the court had directed prison authorities to take him to Sir JJ Hospital and submit his medical report on May 21.
The activist’s report said that he suffered from extreme hearing loss in both ears, and tremors, according to PTI. It also said that he needed a walking stick or a wheelchair. However, his overall condition was said to be stable.
Swamy told the judges there had been a “slow regression” in his body’s functions in jail.
“Eight months ago, I would eat by myself, do some writing, walk, I could take bath by myself, but all these are disappearing one after another,” he said, according to Live Law. “So Taloja Jail has brought me to a situation where I can neither write nor go for a walk by myself. Someone has to feed me. In other words, I am requesting you to consider why and how this deterioration of myself happened.”
Earlier in the week, Swamy had been taken for a medical check-up and administered the coronavirus vaccine, though he was unwell and weak at the time.
When the court asked Swamy if he would like to be admitted to JJ Hospital till his general health improves, he said: “No, I would not want to. I would rather suffer, possibly die here very shortly if this were to go on. I would prefer this [being in Taloja Prison ward], than be admitted at the JJ Hospital.”
As the activist refused hospitalisation, the court gave his lawyer Mihir Desai more time to speak to him. The case will now be heard on June 7.
The case against Swamy
Swamy was arrested on October 8 by the National Investigation Agency from Ranchi, Jharkhand, and brought to Mumbai the next day.
Swamy has been charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and terror-related offences of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for allegedly furthering the cause of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) through various civil rights organisations he worked with.
In his bail plea in March, Swamy had said that he was being targeted by the NIA because of his writings and work related to caste and land struggles of the people.
The NIA claimed that it has sufficient evidence to prima facie prove that Swamy was involved in the conspiracy to instigate caste violence in the Bhima Koregaon village near Pune in 2018.
Several activists and academics have been accused of making inflammatory speeches at the Elgar Parishad conclave held at Shaniwar Wada in Pune on December 31, 2017, which the authorities claim triggered violence at Bhima-Koregaon war memorial the next day.