Arrested in the Elgaar Parishad case, activist Gautam Navlakha, who has been lodged at Taloja Central Jail in Navi Mumbai for the last eight months, has said that his spectacles were stolen last month and the prison authorities have refused to accept a parcel that had arrived by post containing his new glasses.
In a recent communication with his family, Navlakha has said that he is in “acute distress” and unable to see. His partner, Sahba Husain, on Monday said that while she has got a new pair of glasses made and sent it to the jail, the prison authorities have refused to accept the parcel – sent from Delhi on December 3 – when it arrived by post. Navlakha will turn 69 on December 22.
A statement issued by Husain said that Navlakha’s spectacles were stolen on November 27. It added that without his glasses, “he (Navlakha) is close to blind” and yet he was not permitted to call home for a replacement until three days later.
“The jail authorities were informed that Gautam was almost blind without the spectacles and that a pair would be arriving any day and to ensure that the parcel is accepted and not returned. In spite of this, the jail refused to accept the parcel when it arrived by post,” the statement said.
“During the video call, I could see him squinting. I asked him where his glasses were. He said they had been stolen three days earlier but he had been told to wait for his turn to call home,” Husain told The Indian Express.
Jail authorities claimed that they had informed Husain that courier parcels will not be accepted and the spectacles could be sent physically through someone. “We have also offered to get the spectacles made here but received no response. There is a risk in allowing parcels inside the jail. We will accept them if they are delivered physically by someone known to him,” a jail official said.
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