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Sudha Bharadwaj developed heart ailment triggered by stress in jail, says daughter

Bharadwaj was arrested, along with 11 others, over alleged Maoist links and their alleged involvement in the Bhima Koregaon violence on January 1, 2018.

NIA court too had denied the relief to her.

Sudha Bharadwaj, one of the activists arrested and incarcerated in the Bhima Koregaon case, has developed a heart ailment, “clearly triggered by the stress” she is facing in jail, as she “never had any heart-related complaints before she was taken in custody” in October 2018, according to daughter Mayesha Bharadwaj.

A jail medical report of July 23, given to Bharadwaj’s family, states that she is suffering from Ischemic Heart Disease, a heart problem caused by narrowing of arteries that causes reduced blood flow to the heart muscle and can lead to heart attack, Mayesha said in a press note issued on Wednesday.

“Doctors consulted explained such condition…as serious that could lead to a heart attack. The medical report obtained from the jail does not clarify when this condition was diagnosed, nor does it explain the basis for this diagnosis,” Mayesha stated.

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Bharadwaj’s deteriorating heart condition is “clearly triggered by the stress she is facing due to her two-year-long incarceration with no trial on sight”, she has said.

The lawyer-activist was taken into custody on October 27, 2018, “after nearly two months of house arrest,” Mayesha mentioned.

In an online gathering organised on Sunday, friends and colleagues family members demanded the activist’s release.

“The recent heart condition adds to her existing ailment of diabetes, blood pressure and a past history of pulmonary tuberculosis, making her extremely vulnerable and susceptible to infections of Covid 19. At a time of a pandemic, each day spent in an unsafe, crowded place is exposing a person with co-morbidities to unnecessary health risk,” they said in a statement.

At the online gathering, activists from Chhattisgarh, where Bharadwaj worked among labourers for years as part of the Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha, demanded a decisive hearing for her release at the earliest on the grounds of her susceptibility to coronavirus infection within the jail surroundings, along with full access to her medical history in jail and all diagnostic notes.

Bharadwaj was arrested, along with 11 others, over alleged Maoist links and their alleged involvement in the Bhima Koregaon violence on January 1, 2018.

On Tuesday, the Bombay High Court directed the Maharashtra government to provide copies of the latest medical reports of Bharadwaj, Anand Teltumbde and Vernon Gonsalves, accused in the Elgaar Parishad case, to their families, lawyers and the NIA before the next hearing on August 28.

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