Stan Swamy, accused in Elgaar Parishad case, dies at 84

The 84-year-old Jesuit priest was put on ventilator after his health deteriorated further early Sunday.

Father Stan Swamy, the Jesuit priest and tribal rights activist, arrested in the Elgaar Parishad case, breathed his last in a Mumbai hospital on Monday. Doctors at Holy Family Hospital, Bandra, informed the Bombay High Court that Swamy, 84, passed away around 1.30 pm.

His lawyers moved the Bombay High Court on Monday morning, seeking an urgent hearing on his medical bail plea, after he his health deteriorated on Sunday and he was put on ventilator support.

Dr Ian D’souza, medical director of hospital told HC, “On Sunday, he suffered a cardiac arrest at 4.30am. Subsequent to that, he never regained consciousness. At 1.24pm today, he was declared dead. Cause of death is definitely pulmonary infection and Parkinson’s disease among others.”

A Bombay HC division bench, led by Justice S S Shinde, said: “With all humility at our command, we really are shocked by hearing this news. Therefore, last hearings we immediately allowed him to remain in hospital of his choice. We have no words to express.”

Swamy was in the Intensive Care Unit. He was put on a ventilator support on Sunday after he had difficulty in breathing and his oxygen levels were fluctuating, his lawyer Mihir Desai said.

Swamy was arrested from Ranchi on October 8 last year and was lodged in Taloja central jail.

Swamy had sought interim bail on grounds of the pandemic, citing Parkinson’s disease, among other health issues. He also filed for bail on merits before the special court, stating he was arrested for challenging the indiscriminate arrests of thousands of young adivasis labeled as “Naxals” and that there was no proof of his involvement with the banned CPI (Maoists), as alleged by the central agency. The special court disallowed his pleas.

Before he was shifted to Holy Family hospital (on May 30) following directions from the Bombay HC, Swamy had appeared before the High Court through video-conference from Taloja jail. Swamy then told the court that when he was brought to the jail, his core systems were still functional but there has been steady regression since then and he was unable to perform his daily chores, including eating and walking without assistance.

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