83-year-old priest Stan Swamy’s wait for sipper & straw gets longer

83-year-old priest Stan Swamy’s wait for sipper & straw gets longer

MUMBAI: In a plea seeking bail, 83-year-old Jesuit priest and tribal rights activist, father Stan Swamy, arrested in the Elgar Parishad case, has told the special NIA court that working for undertrials who could or couldn’t have been Maoists, does not make him a Maoist.
The plea said that the Persecuted Political Prisoners Solidarity Committee, which the NIA had alleged was a frontal organisation of CPI (Maoist), was one of the most prominent human rights organisations in Jharkhand providing legal aid. “Nowhere has it been stated that providing legal aid to the Maoist is a crime. Nowhere does the constitution state that an alleged Maoist is not to be allowed an opportunity to defend themselves,” the plea said.
The court has sought replies on the bail plea and another made by Swamy’s advocate. After the NIA informed the court during the hearing that a sipper and straw were not part of the items seized during Swamy’s arrest, the defence made a fresh application seeking winter clothes and a straw and sipper for the octogenarian who is suffering from Parkinson’s disease. He said his hands were shaking due to the disease.
Swamy’s bail plea, submitted by advocate Sharif Shaikh, said that by arresting him, the prosecution was trying to criminalise organisations and rights activists. It further said that the prosecution could not establish that Swamy was involved in terror activities. It also said that he was being targeted for his writings. It denied the allegations made in the recently submitted chargesheet.
Citing his age and various ailments, the plea said that he was in the prison hospital where he was taken care of by other inmates.

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