Catholic nuns hold placards during a protest last October against the arrest of Jesuit priest Father Stan Swamy in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand. (Photo: Noah Seelam/AFP)
Bombay High Court has extended the hospitalization of jailed Jesuit activist Father Stan Swamy amid reports that the 84-year-old priest's health has improved.
Father Swamy, currently undergoing treatment in a Catholic hospital in Mumbai, has improved following the order from the same court.
The top court in western India on June 10 extended his hospital stay for four more days until June 18, when it is scheduled to hear the priest’s bail plea on grounds of his poor health.
The court also directed Holy Family Hospital to submit his health report on June 17.
Father Swamy was moved to the Catholic hospital on May 28 after his health deteriorated inside Taloja Central Prison, where he was unable to even walk or eat his food.
The elderly and sick priest was arrested on Oct. 8 last year from his home in eastern India accused of waging a war against the government along with outlawed Maoist rebels. He was detained in jail the next day.
We will get to know a clear picture of his health when the hospital submits its report in the court
“Originally his stay in hospital was due to end on June 14 as per the court order,” said Jesuit Father A. Santhanam, who is following the case closely.Father Swamy already suffers from Parkinson’s disease, hearing impairment and other age-related diseases that restricted his movement to the extent that he required help from others to go to the toilet.
The court order came after Father Swamy’s counsel informed it that the priest was recuperating from Covid-19 infection and needs more time to recover fully, Father Santhanam told UCA News on June 11.
The priest said the hospital has not officially shared any details about Father Swamy as he was admitted to the hospital following an order from the High Court.
“We will get to know a clear picture of his health when the hospital submits its report in the court,” Father Santhanam said.
“We, however, are praying for his fast recovery. We believe that he is recovering in the hospital, especially after getting infected with coronavirus.”
Father Swamy tested positive for Covid-19 on May 30 in the hospital even though his family members suspected of him having contracted the viral disease a fortnight earlier.
The priest is among 16 accused in the case and all of them are activists who excelled as lawyers, writers or academics among other professions.
The priest and his supporters say Father Swamy was framed in the case to silence his criticism against the government run by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party.