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Stan Swamy put on ventilator support, NHRC issues notice to Maharashtra govt

“He is quite critical with severe breathing difficulties. It could be related to post-Covid complications, and we are already examining him for this,” said a doctor from Mumbai’s Holy Family Hospital, where he is currently undergoing treatment.
83-year-old Stan Swamy was arrested for his alleged involvement in the Elgar Parishad case.(Diwakar Prasad/ Hindustan Times)
Updated on Jul 05, 2021 01:42 AM IST
By K A Y Dodhiya, Mumbai

Elgar Parishad accused and human rights activist Stan Swamy was put on ventilator support on Sunday afternoon after he faced severe breathing difficulties, as doctors examining him said he was in a critical condition and that his health could have deteriorated because of post-Covid complications.

“He is quite critical with severe breathing difficulties. It could be related to post-Covid complications, and we are already examining him for this,” said a doctor from Mumbai’s Holy Family Hospital, where he is currently undergoing treatment.

The 84-year-old Jesuit priest was shifted to the private hospital from Taloja Central Jail on May 29 after he was tested positive for Covid-19.

Dr Ian D’souza, the medical director of the hospital, refused to comment on Swamy’s health.

Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Sunday issued a notice to the Maharashtra government in the wake of a complaint alleging serious health condition of imprisoned activist. In the notice sent through the state’s chief secretary, the NHRC has called upon him to ensure that all possible efforts are made in providing Swamy proper medical care and treatment as part of life-saving measure and protection of his basic human rights.

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“The NHRC, looking into the complaint, alleging serious health condition of imprisoned Fr. Stan Swamy (84 years) has today issued a notice to the chief secretary, government of Maharashtra, calling upon him to ensure that every possible efforts are made in providing him proper medical care and treatment as part of life saving measure and protection of his basic human rights,” the NHRC said in a statement.

Senior advocate Mihir Desai, who is representing the octogenarian in the Bombay high court, on Friday told the court that his main concern was to get his client bail on medical grounds as he is critical and will require continued hospitalisation even if he is granted bail.

When asked about Swamy’s condition, Desai said, “He is critical. My main concern is to extend the hospital stay. Even if he is granted bail, he will not be getting up and roaming around as he needs further hospitalisation. We are more concerned about getting him bail as soon as possible.”

Besides the application for bail on medical grounds, Stan Swamy on Friday had also filed another petition seeking setting aside of a provision under Section 43D(5) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) through which the investigating agencies could book him under charges of working in the frontal organisation of a banned terrorist outfit. The petition claimed that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had made it impossible and an insurmountable hurdle for him to apply for bail, calling it arbitrary and against his personal liberty.

However, the high court could not hear the application and petition due to paucity of time. The bench of justices SS Shinde and NJ Jamadar extended Swamy’s stay at the hospital till July 6. In an earlier hearing, the court had granted him extension till July 5.

Meanwhile, several individuals took to social media to express their concerns for the deteriorating health of Swamy, with hashtag #Free FatherStanSwamy trending on Twitter on Sunday.

One such post by Meena Kadasamy on Twitter said, “Father #StanSwamy battling on a ventilator. At 84 years, he’s India’s oldest political prisoner…”

Another user tweeted, “It’s really hard on the part of everyone who is wedded to the principle of justice and fair trial...”

With PTI inputs

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