Accessibility November 27, 2020
Over 100 straws & sippers sent for Father Stan Swamy as outrage builds up over denial of assistive aids
The plight of Father Stan Swamy continues to draw outrage among disability rights groups and ordinary citizens. Over 100 straws and sippers have been sent to the Taloja Jail where he is lodged in as well as the National Investigation Agency office. The 83-year-old activist has Parkinson’s disease, a condition recognised as disabling under RPWD Act 2016.
Outrage and shock grows over the continued denial of assistive aids to strong>Father Stan Swamy, the disabled tribal activist in prison. Eighty-three-year-old Father Swamy has Parkinson’s disease and cannot hold a glass of water. He has also lost most of his hearing in both years.
Yet over seven weeks after he was arrested Father Swamy continues to be denied access to a straw and sipper while in jail. On Thursday, the special court of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in Mumbai rejected his petition asking for his straw and sipper to be returned to him. Father Swamy’s lawyer said the NIA had seized these items at the time of arrest.
Parkinson’s recognised as disabling under RPWD
His petition was rejected after the NIA denied having these items. Father Swamy’s lawyers filed a new petition which will come up for hearing in December.
The inhuman treatment has attracted strong reactions from disability rights activists and ordinary citizens. Support for Father Swamy is growing on social media and over 100 straws and sippers were sent to Taloja Jail, maharashtra, where he is lodged as well as the office of the NIA, Many have likened his treatment to custodial torture and there is outrage growing in international circles as well.
Meanwhile the National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD) has expressed its outrage at the ‘continued denial’ of a sipper and straw to the jailed activist.
83-year-old Stan Swamy is a person living with Parkinson’s, which is a condition recognised as disabling as per the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016. As per various laws and international conventions to which India is a signatory, it is obligatory that Stan Swamy be provided with requisite age and disability appropriate requirements, assistive aids including straws and sippers as also human care assistance. Denial of the same constitutes a violation of his basic rights. – National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled
The NPRD statement also slams the NIA for waiting 20 days to come up with the claim that they did not seize these items during the arrest. It also points to the lack of a humanitarian spirit in the Special Court. “The Special Court should have taken a humanitarian view and ordered that he be provided with a utensil that would assist him in intaking fluids including water. The refusal to do so is atrocious to say the least”.
Next hearing on 4 December
Father Swamy’s petition will come up for hearing on 4 December.
The NPRD says that this wait cannot be tolerated and has called upon its affiliating units to send sippers to the Jailor of Taloja Jail, Maharashtra, where Father Swamy is lodged. “The NPRD appeals to all disability rights organisations, activists and all those who seek justice for Stan Swamy and stand in defence of his rights to join this campaign” says the NPRD.
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