Jesuit tribal activist Fr Stan Swamy’s health deteriorated, shifted to hospital

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Jesuit tribal activist Father Stan Swamy. File photo.

Jesuit tribal activist Father Stan Swamy was on Tuesday shifted from the Taloja Jail to a hospital in Mumbai after the octogenarian’s health deteriorated.

People monitoring Fr Swamy’s legal matters said that Fr Swamy was taken to Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy Hospital or JJ Hospital. The Jesuit priest has been in the Taloja jail in Mumbai since October 9, 2020. He was arrested by the NIA in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case.

According to them, the 84-year-old priest was given the first dose of vaccine for Covid-19.

The Jesuit tribal activist was taken to the hospital after his friends and conferrers raised a much hue and cry after he developed symptoms of Covid-19 infection.

“His health condition is getting worse. He has a severe cold, fever, body pain and diarrhoea,” Irudaya Swamy, the priest’s elder brother, told a press conference on May 15.

The 90-year-old elder brother also said that Father Stan could not attend his lawyer’s call on May 15. “We doubt that he is affected by Covid 19. We are worried,” he had said.

Tharoor demands Fr Swamy’s release

On May 18, Shashi Tharoor, the Congress MP and a former UN official demanded the immediate release of Father Swamy from jail, or provide him treatment on humanitarian consideration.

“Father Stan Swamy has to be released on the basis of human consideration. He has all the rights for this. If his release is not possible, admit him to a hospital at least. Please treat him as a human at least,” he said in a statement published on a Congress website.

On May 16, Jesuit Father Arockiasamy Santhanam, spokesperson for the National Lawyers Forum of Religious and Priests, wrote to the National Human Rights Commission to direct the Taloja Prison authorities to strictly follow the Covid 19 protocol issued by the commission. He also wanted ailing prisoners in the jail, especially Father Swamy shifted to a well-equipped private hospital for treatment.

The Jesuit lawyer also urged the commission to set up a high-level committee or delegation comprising retired Supreme Court Judges, doctors and Civil Society leaders to make an on the spot study of the Taloja prison without any delay.

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