Several netizens on Friday took to social media to share screenshots of their orders on straws and sippers, with the intended order destination being the National Investigation Agency (NIA) office or the Taloja Jail in the outskirts of Mumbai. This, the netizens said, was in solidarity with 83-year-old tribal rights activist Father Stan Swamy's request to the prison authorities to provide him with a straw and sipper, which were allegedly seized from him during the arrest.
Swamy, arrested on October 8 in the alleged Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, is lodged at the Taloja prison near Mumbai.
A Mumbai court had on Thursday rejected his previous application seeking a direction to the NIA to return the straw and sipper allegedly seized from him during the arrest.
He needs a straw and sipper as he has trouble eating and drinking because his hands shake due to Parkinson's disease, he had said.
Netizens on Twitter and Facebook began en masse sharing images of their orders for a straw and sipper, reportedly with the aim to make the NIA provide the aforementioned materials to the 83-year-old suffering from Parkinson's.
Notably, the National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD) has already expressed its outrage at "the continued denial of a sipper and straw to jailed activist Stan Swamy".
NPRD India, in a Facebook post, wrote that Parkinson's Disease is a a condition recognised as disabling as per the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016. It said that according to various laws and international conventions, it was "obligatory" that Swamy be provided with the "requisite age and disability appropriate requirements, assistive aids including straws and sippers as also human care assistance."
"Denial of the same constitutes a violation of his basic rights," NPRD India said.
Where does the case stand?
A Mumbai court on Thursday sought a reply from the prison authorities on 83-year-old tribal rights activist Father Stan Swamy's request that he be provided a straw and sipper in jail.
The NIA had then sought 20 days to file a reply. On Thursday, the agency denied that it had confiscated his straw and sipper. Swamy's lawyer Sharif Shaikh then filed a fresh application to obtain these things, besides winter clothing.
Special NIA Judge D E Kothalikar directed the prison authorities to respond to both the applications and posted them for hearing on December 4.
In his bail plea, Swamy said he suffers from several ailments including Parkinson's and hearing loss. He has undergone two hernia operations and still suffers from abdominal pain, he claimed.
He was shifted to the prison hospital soon after his arrest and two other inmates are taking care of him at hospital, he said.
As per the NIA, Swamy was involved in the activities of the banned CPI (Maoist), and had received funds through an associate for furthering Maoist agenda.
He was also the convenor of the Persecuted Prisoners Solidarity Committee (PPSC), a frontal organisation of the CPI(Maoist), the NIA claimed.
Swamy in his bail plea denied the allegations and said that the prosecution had failed to bring on record any evidence.
(With agency inputs)