CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat has written to Union Home Minister Amit Shah highlighting the "inhuman treatment" being meted out to 11 activists arrested in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case.
In her letter, she said that many of those incarcerated are in fragile health and the delay in investigation is taking a toll on them.
"I write to draw your attention to the inhuman treatment meted out to those political and human rights activists arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case. I am writing to you because the investigation is under the NIA which is under your command," Karat said in the letter.
"Even though nine of the eleven arrested have been incarcerated for two years which is more than enough time for investigation, the NIA has been consistently opposing bail applications. Several of the accused are in fragile health," she said.
The CPI(M) politburo member said at this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, they are in real danger of contracting the virus and many of them suffer from co- morbidities which makes them very vulnerable.
The arrested accused in this case are Sudha Bharadwaj, Shoma Sen, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Arun Ferreira, Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Vernon Gonsalves, Varavara Rao, Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde.
Describing the condition of those incarcerated, Karat gave the example of Gautam Navlakha and said that even while his bail application was pending before a Delhi Court, he was whisked away by the NIA team and taken to Mumbai.
She said Navlakha was referred to a quarantine facility which is jam-packed and extremely unhygienic. "He is also vulnerable to the virus with serious digestive problems, blood pressure and hypertension. His quarantine period is over and yet he is being kept in that centre as a measure to punish him," Karat said.
"It is shocking and deplorable that a political detenu should be treated in this fashion. I urge you to look into the conditions in which he is being held and ensure that he is moved to a more hygienic facility pending his bail," she said.
The CPI(M) leader also cited the example of 81-year-old Varavara Rao who she said was denied bail and discharged just after three days from the well-equipped JJ hospital. She said Rao was brought back to the jail in spite of his alarmingly deteriorating health condition.
"Vindictive political actions against those who have served the poor and marginalised bring no credit to any Government. This is even more alarming in view of the rising numbers of prison inmates and police personnel testing COVID-positive in Mumbai prisons. I hope you will consider the issues raised here and take appropriate action," Karat added.