National

Ensure govt releases all political prisoners, Opposition urges Kovind

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on July 06, 2021

President Ram Nath Kovind   -  PTI

Demand follows death of activist Father Stan Swamy

Leaders of ten Opposition parties have written to President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday urging him to immediately direct the Centre to act against those responsible for “foisting false cases” on Father Stan Swamy, the Jesuit priest and activist who passed away in custody on Monday.

The leaders said in the letter that they are in “deep anguish and outraged” at the death of Swamy under custody regarding the Bhima Koregaon violence case since last October.

‘Trumped up charges’

The Opposition claimed the charges against him were trumped up under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

“He was denied treatment for his various ailments including debilitating Parkinson’s Disease. Only after a nationwide campaign was conducted that even a sipper to drink liquids was made available to him in jail,” the leaders including Sonia Gandhi, HD Deve Gowda, Mamata Banerjee, MK Stalin, Hemant Soren, Sitaram Yechury, Sharad Pawar, D Raja, Farooq Abdullah and Tejaswi Yadav said in the letter.

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, they said. “His appeals for bail and being sent home too were rejected. Thanks to the Bombay High Court’s intervention he was admitted to a private hospital when his condition started deteriorating after he was infected with Covid. But it was too late to prevent his death in custody,” they added and urged the President to direct “his government” to act against those responsible for foisting false cases on Swamy, his continued detention in jail and inhuman treatment.

‘Release prisoners’

The leaders said the guilty must be held accountable. “It is now incumbent that all those jailed in the Bhima Koregaon case and other detenues under politically motivated cases, misusing draconian laws such as UAPA, sedition etc, be released forthwith,” they added in the letter.

Published on July 06, 2021

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