Early Christmas miracle: Taloja jail authorities show compassion, give Fr. Stan Swamy sipper, warm clothes!

The 83-year-old can now finally take a proper drink of water as he was previously unable to hold a cup or a glass as his hands shook due to Parkinson's disease

Stan swamy

Taloja jail authorities have handed over a sipper to Jharkhand Adivasi activist Father Stan Swamy on December 4, 2020 said a letter-excerpt circulating among overjoyed supporters of the octogenarian human rights defender who has been implicated in the Bhima-Koregaon case on trumped up charges.

“Dear friends, thank you for your deep concern… The jail authorities have been very considerate. Recently, I was given a sipper which I am using for drinking water and tea,” said Fr. Swamy in his letter from prison sent today, Friday December 6.

The 83-year-old’s lawyer Sharif Shaikh confirmed the news adding that Swamy had also filed three fresh applications on Friday asking the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to return his bag that was seized at the time of his arrest, a clone copy of his hard disk and a request not to transfer Swamy from Taloja jail. In November, he had filed a separate application for his straw and sipper.

Swamy suffers from Parkinson’s disease along with other ailments which make the sipper an important tool for his survival. Yet the NIA claimed not to possess the required straw or sipper. The agency’s lawyer Prakash Shetty told a special court that the NIA does not have any of Swamy’s belongings.

Jail authorities eventually handed over the sipper along with some winter clothes to Swamy. However, regarding the bail plea, they asked for more time to submit the medical report. The matter has now been scheduled for hearing on December 10. The fresh applications submitted by Swamy would also be heard then.

“Fr Stan is grateful for his old sipper. He is used to it and is glad to have it back, however he has no complaints” said a Jesuit priest who read the senior priest’s note from prison. According to sources in the Jesuit community, Fr Stan tries to send a small note from prison once a week or so. He can no longer write anything himself due to the advancing Parkinsons and is helped by a co prisoner who pens down what Fr Stan says. Typical of Fr Stan he has never complained about the prison conditions and is always concerned about the well being of other inmates. He is especially concerned about the fragile health condition of poet Varavarao, a co-accused, and in his past notes from prison has asked for prayers for Rao. 

However many in the Jesuit community, and the civil society are still trying to understand why such hurdles were created for Fr Stan since his arrest in October, and he was denied carrying his simple white metal tumbler and straw all these days. “The authorities could have been instructed to hand over the tumbler and straw on day one,” said a Jesuit, adding that Fr Stan would have never asked for anything he did not need, “he has always lead a frugal life, the tumbler was not a luxury, it is an essential utensil for Fr Stan.”

The NIA arrested Swamy on October 8 claiming his involvement in banned CPI (Maoist) activities and receipt of funds through an associate for furthering Maoist agenda.

As always, Fr Stan Swamy ended his letter on a positive note stating, “We are in the season of Advent. As we approach Christmas, let us pray that Jesus may be born in Taloja prison, this year.” An excerpt from the note he sent:

Stan swamy



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