In the hearing which was held last Friday May 21st, Fr Swamy spoke to High Court judges, SJ Kathawalla and Surendra Tavade by video link.
On being asked on whether he was taken to the hospital on the previous day and about his health, he said
“Yes, yesterday I was examined in several places. But what I want to say is how I am. I was brought here eight months ago. When I came here, full system, my body was very functional. But during this eight months, there has been a steady but slow regression of my bodily functions. So the main issue is… [pauses].
Eight months ago I could take bath by myself, some writing by myself. But these are disappearing one after another. So, Taloja jail, brought me to a situation where I can neither write nor can I go for a walk by myself. Or eating. I am not able to meet this demand. Eating is also in a difficulty. Someone has to feed me with a spoon. I am asking you to consider, why and how this regression of myself. Like yesterday I was taken to JJ hospital and so there was lot of people but I had no opportunity to explain what I should be given. There are some medicines which the jail authorities have given me, but this, my deterioration is so powerful than the tablets they are giving me. So I have come to you. Before I used to put my earphones, any conversation I was able to follow. Now I am not able to.”
The court asked Fr Swamy if he would prefer being shifted to JJ Hospital instead of the prison hospital. He refused, saying
“I have been there twice. I am not for being hospitalised in JJ Hospital. I would rather die here very shortly if things go on as it is.”
“The only thing I request is to consider interim bail. I have been in deteriorating condition. I would rather be in Ranchi with my friends. Whatever happens to me, I would like to be with my own. I do not think any of that [hospitalisation] is going to help.”
Fr Swamy’s continued imprisonment has horrified human rights defenders. One of India’s eminent environmental historians and Gandhi scholars Ramachandra Guha (@Ram_Guha) tweeted “Do the judges really think that the continued incarceration of an 84 year-old Jesuit Father with Parkinson’s disease and hearing difficulties is essential to national security?”
“Is the NIA the personal vigilante force of the Home Minister?”
The global Jesuit network continues to advocate for his immediate release on bail. To join us, contact your local TD or the Minister for Foreign Affairs and urge them to raise the issue of his detainment.
With thanks to Xavier Jeyaraj SJ, Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat