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New Delhi: Leaders of major national opposition parties have written to President Ram Nath Kovind urging his intervention in holding accountable those responsible for the detention, ‘inhuman treatment’ and death of human rights activist Father Stan Swamy.
The letter is signed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham chief M.K. Stalin, Jharkhand Janmukti Morcha chief Hemant Soren, Janata Dal (Secular) chief H.D. Deve Gowda, JKPA’s Farooq Abdullah, Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Tejashwi Yadav, CPI’s D. Raja and CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury.
Many other opposition leaders had taken to Twitter expressing outrage over the 84-year-old’s death.
Leaders of major opposition parties urge intervention of President of India to hold accountable those responsible for the detention, inhuman treatment and death of Fr Stan Swamy.
Release all detenues detained by misusing UAPA/Sedition etc., on politically motivated charges. pic.twitter.com/om15utGfr9
— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) July 6, 2021
The death of the 84-year-old who was suffering from multiple ailments and awaiting bail on medical grounds has led to sharp criticism of the Union and Maharashtra governments, as well the judiciary, from various global and domestic quarters.
The opposition leaders have written that Stan Swamy was jailed “last October on trumped up charges under the draconian UAPA and was sough to be linked with the Bhima Koregaon case” in which 15 other activists, academics and lawyers have also been held as undertrials.
The opposition leaders noted that he was “denied treatment” for various ailments, including a sipper which was only made available to him after a nationwide campaign.
“The numerous appeals made to shift him out of the over crowded Taloja jail that had seen a huge rise in Covid cases went unheeded,” the opposition leaders noted in the letter.
Swamy died at the Holy Family Hospital, where he was admitted on May 29 upon orders of the Bombay high court, in Mumbai, a day after he suffered a cardiac arrest and was put on ventilator support.
Notably, the government in Maharashtra, under whom jails – including the jail at Taloja where Swamy was imprisoned – function is led by the parties of two of the above signatories, Congress and NCP, along with the Shiv Sena.
“We are urging your immediate intervention as the President of India to direct “your government” to act against those responsible for foisting false cases on him, his continued detention in jail and inhuman treatment. They must be held accountable,” the writers say, urging the release of all those held in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case and other “politically motivated cases misusing draconian laws like UAPA.”