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Keeping A Sick 83-year-old Incarcerated Does Not Serve Any Purpose To The Prosecution; Father Stan Swamy Seeks Bail Before Spl NIA Court

Nitish Kashyap
27 Nov 2020 6:53 AM GMT
Keeping A Sick 83-year-old Incarcerated Does Not Serve Any Purpose To The Prosecution;  Father Stan Swamy Seeks Bail Before Spl NIA Court
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Currently in jail for his alleged role in the caste based violence that took place at Bhima Koregaon on January 1, 2018, Father Stan Swamy has filed a bail application before the Special NIA Court alleging he is being framed in the case by the central agency due to the nature of his work.The 83-year-old jesuit priest was arrested by the NIA on October 8 from his residence at Ranchi and...

Currently in jail for his alleged role in the caste based violence that took place at Bhima Koregaon on January 1, 2018, Father Stan Swamy has filed a bail application before the Special NIA Court alleging he is being framed in the case by the central agency due to the nature of his work.

The 83-year-old jesuit priest was arrested by the NIA on October 8 from his residence at Ranchi and was brought to Mumbai the next day. He was remanded to judicial custody from October 9. The bail application cites various medical ailments of the applicant -

"The Applicant is an 83-year-old citizen of India with many ailments including hearing loss from both ears and arms injury.He has undergone two hernia operations, and still suffering from abdomen pain, he suffers intense pain from lumbar spondylosis i.e. is the tear and wear of the lumbar disc and tremors in both hands due to Parkinsons. Infact, he has been shifted to the Prison hospital and is being taken care of by other inmates."

Father Stan is the founder of Bagaicha, an organization dedicated to empowering the Adivasi and Moolvasi communities. He is one of the leading tribal rights activists in Jharkhand, and has written and researched extensively on issues of caste, religion, land rights, and people's struggles.

Referring to the work done by his organisation Persecuted Prisoner's Solidarity Committee (PPSC), Father Stan's application states that it helps in providing legal aid to undertrials and also carries out research concerning undertrials. Alleging that NIA is targeting his organisation, the plea filed through Adv Sharif Shaikh states-

"The region is torn in conflict between the State and Naxalites. Atmost the prosecution has managed to establish that the Applicant had some correspondence with others who could be members of banned organizations. Nowhere have they been able to establish that the Applicant himself is a member of the banned organization.Working for the undertrials who could or couldn't have been Maoist does not make the Applicant himself a Maoist. No where has the prosecution been able to establish that the Applicant was involved in any terror activity. The Role Of PPSC has been established, admittedly by the prosecution,as an organization providing legal aid. Now here has it been stated that providing legal aid to the Maoist is a crime. Nowhere does the Constitution state that an alleged Maoist is not to be allowed an opportunity to defend themselves. By arresting the Applicant, the prosecution and the investigating agency is trying to criminalize the organizations and right activists who are tirelessly and selflessly working to provide robust legal defense as envisaged by the Constitution to those who are missed by the system."

Pleading his innocence, Father Stan contends that the NIA has failed to establish any prima facie case against him or his involvement in the above case. Moreover, he alleges that he is being targeted by the investigating agency due to the nature of his writings. The writings/literature written by the applicant is about the caste and land struggles of the people in India, and includes research on undertrial adivasis. He writes about violation of the democratic rights of the marginalized citizens of India. The plea states-

"Through his literature, he has raised questions and holds the State authorities responsible for the injustice against the marginalized persons of the society. The Applicant further questions misuse of State power, with regards to the suppression of undertrial detainees, and the non-implementation of the Panchayats Extensions to Scheduled Areas (PESA)Act,1996. The Petitioner states that it is due to nature of the work of the Applicant that he is being falsely implicated in the said FIR."

Seeking bail, the applicant urges that criminal jurisprudence has time and again reiterated that the bail is the rule and "keeping a sick 83 year old incarcerated does not serve any purpose to the prosecution."

Finally, the application states-

"There is no risk of flight and jumping of bail. The prosecution arrested him after two and a half years of filing of FIR. In fact the arrest of the Applicant itself was uncalled for. He had cooperated with the investigation which is borne out by the fact that the Chargesheet was filed on the date when he was arrested without seeking any kind of NIA remand, and that he was not arrested during the long investigation lasting more than 2 years itself shows that he was never seen as a flight risk or someone who would tamper with evidence. It was a mala fide arrest."

Yesterday, Special NIA Court sought the jail medical officer's response to the requirement of straw and sipper sought by Father Stan after the NIA submitted that they will not be able to provide him with the same after taking more than 20 days to respond to the request. Father Stan sought the same as he is unable to hold a cup due to tremors in his hand caused as a result of Parkinson's.

Father Stan's application is likely to be heard on December 4 along with his application seeking straw and sipper.


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