Father Stan Swamy (1937-2021)

Fr. Stan Swamy passes away in custody

Stan Swamy  

The Bombay High Court on Monday was informed that Father Stan Swamy, 84, passed away at 1.24 p.m.

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Dr. Ian D’souza, medical director of the Holy Family Hospital where Fr. Swamy was admitted, told a division bench of Justices S.S. Shinde and N.J. Jamadar that the tribal rights activists had pulmonary infection, post COVID-19 complications in the lungs and pneumonia. He also had Parkinson’s. Dr. D’souza said the Jesuit priest suffered from a cardiac arrest on July 4 at 4.30 a.m. He was put on a ventilator, and he never regained consciousness.

Senior advocate Mihir Desai, representing Fr. Swamy, said: “we have no grievance against the hospital. However, we cannot say the same thing about the National Investigation Agency [NIA] and State authorities. I am seeking judicial custody into this as there was a delay of 10 days in taking him to the hospital from jail”.

The Bench said, “with all humility at our command, this is a shocking news. We passed that order, to take him to the hospital of his choice. We have no words to express our condolences. But since the doctor informed us here, so remaining matter on any other date we will hear.”

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Mr. Desai said the NIA did not seek his custody even for a day and he was sent to the Taloja Jail as soon as he was arrested. He requested the court to pass an order to hand over Fr. Swamy’s body to Father Frazer.

Public Prosecutor Deepak Thakare said as per prison rules, an inquest ‘panchnama’ and a post-mortem examination was necessary before handing over the body for the last rites.

Mr. Desai sought the submission of all medical reports and the post-mortem report to the court.

Shifted to hospital on May 29

Fr. Swamy was shifted to the private hospital from the jail on May 29 after being directed by the High Court. He tested positive for COVID-19 on May 30 and suffered lower back pain and bilateral hearing loss among other ailments.

He told the court on May 21, “I am eating less and less and my co-accused are worried about me. I would prefer to suffer and die like this in Taloja jail than being admitted to JJ Hospital. It will not improve; it will keep going. Only one thing that I would request the judiciary is to consider for interim bail. That is the only request.”

The Jesuit priest, through videoconferencing told the court, “Taloja jail brought me to a situation where I can neither write nor go for a walk by myself or eat. I am not able to meet this demand. Eating is also in difficulty. Someone has to feed me with a spoon.”

He was an accused in the Bhima Koregaon violence case and arrested from Ranchi on October 9, 2020.

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Printable version | Aug 2, 2021 11:18:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/fr-stan-swamy-passes-away/article35143941.ece

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