Bhima Koregaon case accused Gautam Navlakha denied specs sent via courier, say kin; Navi Mumbai jail authorities cite security concerns

The 70-year-old civil liberties activist is lodged in Taloja jail since 2018 in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case probe
On November 30, Gautam Navlakha informed his partner that his specs were stolen from the jail.(HT FILE)
On November 30, Gautam Navlakha informed his partner that his specs were stolen from the jail.(HT FILE)
Updated on Dec 08, 2020 12:51 AM IST
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Civil liberties and human rights activist Gautam Navlakha, 70, who is in judicial custody at Taloja jail in Navi Mumbai in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case probe, has alleged that the jail authorities have refused to provide him with the new pair of spectacles sent by his family via courier, after his spectacles were stolen by an unidentified person in the prison.

His partner Sahba Hussain said, “Navlakha is allowed to speak to me only once a week. On November 30, he told me that his spectacles were stolen and that he was under stress. My question is how can spectacles be stolen within the jail, particularly because he removes it only when he goes to sleep?”

In a media release, Hussain said that on November 27, Navlakha’s spectacles were stolen and that. “It was an emergency, for he is close to being blind without his glasses. Yet, he was not permitted to call home for a replacement until three days later. But even that call proved futile. Navlakha is in acute distress, is unable to see things around him and his blood pressure has shot up consequently,” read the release.

After Navlakha’s call, Hussain sent a new pair of spectacles to the jail on December 3.

“I was tracking the package, and I received a message stating that it was returned. Previously, I had couriered a pair of slippers and cloths. That parcel too, was returned. Those were things which a person can manage without having, but spectacles are basic necessity. How can that be denied?” questioned Hussain.

A senior prison officer, who did not wish to be named, said they had offered to arrange a new pair of spectacles for the activist. “When Navlakha informed us about the theft, we told him that he has to look after his belongings. We also asked him to give his prescription for the glasses so that we could arrange for a new pair. And we informed him to tell his family members to personally deliver the spectacles. We did not receive any response from him after that. Later, we received a courier which we do not accept because of security reasons,” said the officer.

However, Hussain denied the claims. “We were never informed that a parcel will not be accepted,” said Hussain.

Navlakha has been lodged in Taloja jail since his arrest on October 1, 2018. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has alleged that till August 2018, he was a member of the banned outfit Communist Party of India (Maoist).


    Charul Shah is senior reporter covering the legal beat for Hindustan Times. She has spent over a decade in the industry covering criminal investigations and judiciary from Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Bengaluru.

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