Updated: October 26, 2021 7:39:13 am
ACTIVIST GAUTAM Navlakha, arrested in the Elgaar Parishad case, has been shifted from the barracks to the high-security Anda cell at Taloja earlier this month, causing further deterioration to his health, his partner Sahba Husain has said in a statement. Husain also said that the jail has discontinued phone calls, which were allowed due to the restrictions during the pandemic, “on the pretext that physical mulaqats have been resumed”.
Husain said that the 70-year-old was shifted to the “Anda circle” from the regular barracks on October 12. “…In the Anda circle, he is deprived of daily walks in the jail’s non-concreted greener areas and fresh air, and his health has deteriorated further, making specialised medical care an absolute necessity, if he is to live to fight this unjust and false case foisted on him,” the statement said.
Referring to communication received from Navlakha, Husain’s statement said that there is not a single tree or plant in the open space of the circle and that the prisoners lodged there are forbidden from stepping outside. “In other words, we spend 16 hours out of 24 cooped inside our cells and the eight hours we are let out, we are confined to a corridor…for our daily walk on cemented floor surrounded by high walls all around,” Navlakha’s communication to Husain stated.
Husain also said that as a senior citizen living in Delhi, it was “difficult” for her to travel to Navi Mumbai to Meet Navlakha frequently for the allotted 10 minutes. She said while they were allowed to make two calls every week, the discontinuation of these will also jeopardise Navlakha’s health and well being, she added. She said that in these calls, she would also be told about the articles Navlakha needed such as medicines and books. The statement said that calls to lawyers have also been discontinued, adding it would amount to depriving an undertrial prisoner from securing legal advice and help. The statement also refers to 84-year-old activist Stan Swamy, one of the accused in the case, who died at a private hospital in July while in custody.
A prison official did not respond to request for a comment.
Navlakha has been lodged in Taloja jail since last year following his arrest by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). His plea seeking that he be placed under house arrest as part of his judicial custody on the grounds of his advanced age and medical ailments is pending before the Bombay High Court.
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