The NHRC on Sunday issued a notice to the Maharashtra government in the wake of a complaint alleging serious health condition of imprisoned 84-year-old Father Stan Swamy. UN special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders Mary Lawlor also made an appeal to the government for special treatment to the activist lodged in jail.
“Horrible news to learn that Indian Human Rights Defender Father Stan Swamy is in very serious condition and was put on a ventilator last night. He’s spent 9 months in jail on unfounded charges. I’m deeply saddened and expect that every possible specialist treatment will be provided to him," Lawlor said in a post on Twitter.
In the notice sent through the state’s chief secretary, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has called upon him to ensure that every 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.
The commission has also called for a report in the light of the allegations made in the complaint, and the treatment record of Swamy, who is very old and lodged in Taloja Jail, Navi Mumbai.
“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.
The Jesuit priest and tribal rights activist has been arrested in the Elgaar Parishad case.
This direction has come in continuation with the earlier order of the commission, wherein it had advised the state government to provide adequate medical care and treatment to Swamy, who is admitted at the Holy Family Hospital, and submit a report within four weeks, it said.
Earlier, the NHRC had received a complaint on May 16 that Swamy was being denied medical facility during the COVID-19 period, the rights panel said.
It was also alleged in the complaint that he had not been vaccinated yet and that there was no proper medical care in the jail hospital, it said.
The petitioner has further alleged that the majority of jail staff had tested Covid positive, especially most of the kitchen staff. A number of undertrial prisoners had also contracted the coronavirus and no RT-PCR tests were conducted there, as per the the complaint, the statement said.
With inputs from agencies