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Stan Swamy's Co-Accused In Bhima Koregaon Case Observe Hunger Strike In Jail

The 10 Bhima Koregaon co-accused include Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Sudhir Dhawale, Mahesh Raut, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Gautam Navlakha, Anand Teltumbde, Ramesh Gaichor and Sagar Gorkhe.

Stan Swamy's Co-Accused In Bhima Koregaon Case Observe Hunger Strike In Jail
Stan Swamy passed away at age 84
Stan Swamy's Co-Accused In Bhima Koregaon Case Observe Hunger Strike In Jail
outlookindia.com
2021-07-07T14:17:58+05:30

A day after the death of 84-year-old tribal rights activist Stan Swamy who was one of the accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, ten of his co-accused went on a hunger strike inside Mumbai's Taloja jail on Wednesday. Swamy had been incarcerated in the prison since his arrest by the National Investigation Agency in October last year before being shifted to a hospital on May 28.

Protest against the "institutional murder" of the Jesuit priest Swamy, the co-accused inmates of Taloja Jail in Navi Mumbai demanded action against NIA officials. The agency has been conducting a probe into the Elgar Parishad case.

The inmates also demanded action against the former superintendent of Taloja jail where Swamy was lodged for nine months after being arrested from Ranchi, Jharkhand, under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

He suffered a cardiac arrest and died at a Mumbai hospital on Monday in the middle of his fight for bail on health grounds.

The Elgar Parishad case is related to inflammatory speeches made at a conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017, which, the police claimed, triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial located on the outskirts of the western Maharashtra city.

The police had claimed the conclave was organised by people with alleged Maoist links.
The other accused in the case termed Swamy's death an "institutional murder" and held the "negligent jails, indifferent courts and malicious investigating agencies" responsible for it.

As a mark of protest, 10 of the co-accused in the case - Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Sudhir Dhawale, Mahesh Raut, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Gautam Navlakha, Anand Teltumbde, Ramesh Gaichor and Sagar Gorkhe - went on a one-day fast in the Taloja jail on Wednesday.

They informed about the protest to their family members, who released a statement saying all Elgar case prisoners have blamed the NIA and the Taloja jail's former superintendent Kaustubh Kurlekar for the death of Father Stan Swamy.

They believe that "the separation of Stan Swamy from them is a deliberate institutional murder," the release said.

The statement alleged that the NIA and Kurlekar never missed a single opportunity to "harass" Stan Swamy, whether it was the "ghastly treatment" inside the jail, the haste to transfer him back from hospital to jail or even protesting against trivial things like a sipper (which Swamy required due to his medical conditions).

"It is these that have caused the death of Stan Swamy and therefore, for this institutional murder, NIA officials and Kurlekar should be tried under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code," the statement said, while demanding a judicial inquiry into his death.

The statement said the family members of the accused will submit these demands to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray through the Taloja jail administration.

It also said that though these accused were lodged in different barracks, they met on Tuesday and shared their memories of Father Stan Swamy, and also observed a two-minute silence as a mark of tribute to him.

Three women accused in the case- Sudha Bharadwaj, Shoma Sen and Jyoti Jagtap - are currently lodged at the Byculla prison in Mumbai.

(With inputs from PTI)

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