Accessibility November 27, 2020
83-year-old disabled tribal activist Father Stan Swamy still awaits straw & sipper in jail
Father Stan Swamy, the 83-year-old tribal activist, will have to wait until 4 December ti find out if he can get a straw and sipper in jail. Father Swamy has Parkinson’s disease and has lost most of his hearing. Despite numerous appeals by disability rights groups, he continues to be denied access to accommodations guaranteed under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016.
He is 83 years old and cannot hold a glass of water due to Parkinson’s disease. Yet Father Stan Swamy continues to be denied a straw and sipper in jail.
Twenty days after Father Swamy put in a request to be granted a straw and sipper at Taloja Jail the National Investigation Agency (NIA) finally responded only to deny seizing the human rights activist’s straw and sipper when they arrested him in October.
The Special NIA court then rejected the activist’s petition and a new petition had to be filed seeking a straw, sipper and winter clothes. The medical officer at Taloja Jail has been directed to respond and the matter will next be heard on 4 December.
Consider Father Swamy’s medical condition. He has almost lost his hearing ability in both years, has fallen in jail many times and still suffers pain in his abdomen after a surgery. He finds it hard to even hold a cup due to Parkinson’s disease.
Fr Swamy has also lost his hearing
The NIA alleges that Father Swamy is a member of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), and was involved in a conspiracy to provoke caste violence in the Bhima Koregaon village near Pune in 2018. He has been in judicial custody since 9 October.
The National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD) had earlier petitioned the National human Rights Commission (NHRC) seeking its urgent intervention to provide reasonable accommodations to Father Swamy as Parkinson’s is recognised as disabling under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016. “It is obligatory that Stan Swamy be provided with requisite age and disability appropriate accommodations, assistive aids including straws and sippers as also human care assistance as required”, said the petition.
There has been strong criticism of the court order.
This is atrocious. Even if we accept the NIA’s contention that it did not seize the straw and sipper that Father Stan Swamy was carrying at the time of his arrest, could not the special court order that he be provided one, given his condition? An 83 year old man with Parkinson’s with other additional ailments is denied a utensil that would assist him in intaking fluids including water. A telling commentary on the state of affairs today. – Muralidharan Vishwanath, General Secretary, National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled
Support is growing for Father Stan Swamy on social media. A Twitter handle #FreeFrStanSwamy has been started to campaign on his behalf.
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