Saturday, July 10, 2021

2 SOG commandos injured in encounter with Maoists in Odisha's Kandhamal

Two Special Operations Group commandos were injured in an encounter with Maoists in Kandhamal district of Odisha on Saturday.

Two Special Operations Group commandos were injured in an encounter with Maoists in Kandhamal district of Odisha on Saturday.
Two SOG commandos were injured in an encounter with Maoists in Kandhamal district of Odisha on Saturday.

Two Special Operations Group commandos were injured in an encounter between Maoist and security forces in Kandhamal district of Odisha on Saturday. With the help of the CRPF, they were airlifted in a chopper to the state capital Bhubaneswar for medical treatment. A doctor accompanied them. Their condition is stable at present.

They sustained bullet injuries during an exchange of fire with Red Ultras in the Boudh-Kandhamal border area in Odisha.

As per reports, an operation was launched under Gochapada police station of Kandhamal district on July 9 based on reliable input. During the combing operation, Maoists allegedly opened fire on the security forces on Saturday morning. A fierce encounter followed, during which heavy ammunition was reportedly used by the Ultras.

Some Maoists are suspected to have been injured when the security forces fired in retaliation.

The combing operation in the area has been intensified.

Meanwhile, Odisha Director General of Police Abhay, Director Intelligence Lalit Das, Inspector General (Operation) Amitabh Thakur and Deputy Inspector General SIW Anirudh Kumar Singh were on a tour to Malkangiri and Koraput districts to review anti-left wing extremism work. Their programme was changed as a result of the encounter. The helicopter landed in Padelpada in Boudh district to airlift the injured commandos


The Odisha Director General of Police Abhay, who was on a tour to Malkangiri and Koraput districts, changed his programme and diverted his chopper to Boudh to airlift the jawans. The DGP along with senior police officials, who were on a tour to Malkangiri and Koraput districts to review anti-LWE work, when heard the news at Sunabeda, changed their programme and rushed to Padelpada in Boudh.

An IAF (Indian Air Force) helicopter was also requisitioned but could not make it because of bad weather en route. But, the BSF pilot immediately took an alternative route and landed at a very small place named Padelpada, and successfully airlifted the injured jawans, the DGP informed.

He thanked the doctor of Kantamal PHC, who immediately came for the service, even without changing his dress.

Now, both the commandos are under treatment at AIIMS Bhubaneswar and stated to be stable. Operation has been intensified in the area, the police said.

Friday, July 09, 2021

The story of Naxal Varghese, retold


Special CorrespondentKOZHIKODE 09 JULY 2021 19:31 IST
UPDATED: 09 JULY 2021 19:32 IST

English translation of a book on the leader gives readers a glimpse of the history

“Immediately someone went over to Varghese and led him to a fissure in a rock, and made him sit there. Now he was visible only up to his chest. Lakshmana ordered, ‘Shoot!’ I held the barrel close to Varghese’s chest. Only the length of the rifle separated us – almost four feet. It was a .303 rifle I had with me. The day was February 18, 1970 and the time, 6.55 p.m. As demanded earlier by Varghese, I made a sound ‘Shoo . . .’ I didn’t check whether others heard me. I pressed the barrel against his chest. As soon as he shouted, ‘Long Live Mao Unity! Victory to Revolution!’ the firing was done. Varghese fell to his right. Thus the very hand that had fed him the last morsel of rice, killed him.” That was perhaps the first encounter killing in the State.

The shocking revelation of constable Ramachandran Nair that he had shot Varghese point blank on orders from his superiors at the height of the anti-Naxalite drive of early 1970s have been retold in reams and bytes. Now a recently released English translation - "Naxal Varghese: Take-Off and Tail Spin" - by Sebastian Joseph is literally taking a reader to the history of the Naxal movement in Kerala.

A former journalist of Malayala Manorama, Mr. Joseph has extended his reportage after retirement to explore the nuances of the revolutionary zeal in his home district of Wayanad. Of the trilogy, all published in Malayalam, only the second one, has been translated to English, he says.

Maybe the episodes of Varghese or Sakhav Varghese and for some Kerala Che Guevara, who fought against the exploitation of Adivasis by feudal lords in Wayanad has a contemporary element in the State polity. “This is more than a sequel to the first book, Spring Thunder, and gives a realistic account of the Thirunelli-Thrissilery riots. Varghese led the riots when all the leaders of Thalassery-Pulpally actions were languishing in jails,” Mr. Joseph says.

Translated by Radhika P. Menon, this research oriented book mostly based on interviews and documents, has been divided into 36 sections tracing the communist movement in Wayanad, milestones in the Adivasi struggles, capture and killing of Varghese.

Mr. Joseph says that the accounts of the participants, the witnesses and the victims of the riots have been recorded in an unbiased, objective manner, and several official documents, interpretations, witness statements marshalled to authenticate them.

Certainly the sacrifice of the Naxalites have to be recognised. And nobody can do a better job than a journalist in telling their stories,” he says.

Surrender and get medical facilities': Jharkhand Police to Covid-hit Maoists

Express News Service | Published: 09th July 2021 09:48 PM

(Image used for representation)

RANCHI: Amid reports that many of the Maoists died of Covid in Jharkhand and other states, Jharkhand Police has made an offer to the ailing Maoists that they will get all medical facilities after they surrender. They can also get Covid jabs easily, police said.

“Again I appeal, especially, to those who have lost track and joined Maoist cadres that if they have any kind of medical problem or any complication related to Covid, they must inform the local SP or police station and surrender. Their treatment will be done by the police department,” said IG (Operations) Jharkhand Police spokesperson AV Homkar. 

“It has been our effort that if anybody comes to us with their problem or ailment, all facilities is provided to them including medical care,” said Homkar.

The offer was apparently made after reports that many Maoist cadres were infected with Covid but due to lack of resources, they were not able to get proper treatment. Moreover, they were also forced to get treated by the local quacks due to the fear of getting caught.

According to an official release from the Central Committee of CPI (Maoists), as many as 160 cadres all over the Country died in the last year due to various reasons including Covid.

“We are trying to confirm the figures from various agencies about the damage caused by Covid to the Maoist cadres in Jharkhand,” said the spokesperson.

More than 900 of the 1000 Maoists lodged in different jails of Jharkhand have already been vaccinated, Homkar added

Thursday, July 08, 2021

Police launch campaign urging Maoists to join the mainstream

SP Sunil Dutt interacting with family members of some underground Maoist cadres in Charla town recently.SP Sunil Dutt interacting with family members of some underground Maoist cadres in Charla town recently.
Special CorrespondentBHADRADRI-KOTHAGUDEM 09 JULY 2021 00:31 IST
UPDATED: 09 JULY 2021 00:31 IST

The move comes ahead of the CPI (Maoist)’s Martyrs’ Week slated to be held from July 28 to August 3

As part of a multi-pronged strategy to ensure surrender of key Maoist cadres active in the forest region along the Telangana-Chhattisgarh border, the Bhadrachalam sub-division police launched a campaign titled ‘Intiki Randi-Kutumbamtho Jeevinchandi’ (Return to your home – live with your families).

The campaign forms the crux of the uni-focal strategy of the police to reach out to the family members of the underground Maoist guerrillas in the remote tribal habitations along the inter-State border to persuade them to prevail upon the Maoists working underground to join the mainstream.

The move comes ahead of the CPI (Maoist)’s Martyrs’ week slated to be held from July 28 to August 3. The COVID-19 lockdown period in the past two months saw vigorous outreach activities by the police in the remote tribal pockets of Bhadrachalam Agency bordering the Maoist strongholds in Chhattisgarh’s south Bastar division. The CPI (Maoist) Manuguru Local Organising Squad (LOS) Area Committee Member (ACM) Madivi Iduma alias Surender, 23, along with his wife Madakam Budri alias Sony, 23, Dalam member, surrendered before the Superintendent of Police Sunil Dutt in Kothagudem last month.



Police sources said the couple surrendered due to fear of the spread of COVID-19 among Maoist ranks.

About 19 Maoist militia/village committee members from three remote tribal habitations in Charla and Dummugudem mandals turned themselves in before the police in Kothagudem on June 15.

Mr Sunil Dutt interacted with the family members of several Maoist underground cadres during a meeting held to mark the launch of Intiki Randi-Kutumbamtho Jeevinchandi campaign at Charla police station on Monday. The SP handed over rice and groceries to the family members of the Maoist rebels on the occasion.

The SP called upon the Maoist guerrillas to abjure violence and return to the mainstream to live a normal life along with their family members by availing the government’s rehabilitation package for surrendered Maoists. Police sources said that plans were afoot to hold meetings in other Left-Wing Extremism (LWE) affected areas in the district under the Intiki Randi-Kutumbamtho Jeevinchandi campaign in the next couple of days

In a 1st for Hazaribag, three CPI Maoists lay down arms

Abhijit Sen | TNN | Jul 9, 2021, 05:00 IST


Hazaribag: Three active CPI Maoists on Thursday surrendered before officials in 


 making it the first such incident in the district. 

Those surrendered were identified as Sarita Soren (19) alias Mumta Santhali, Usha Kishku (27) alias Usha Santhali alias Fulmani and Nageshwar Ganjhu (38). They were associated with Mithilesh Singh and Karu Yadav’s gang. The two were zonal commander and sub-zonal commander respectively operating in Hazaribag, Bokaro, Ramgarh and Chatra.

Deputy commissioner Aditya Kumar Anand said that all surrendered rebels will get benefits under the state government’s surrender policy. Hazaribag superintendent of police Kartik S, officials of the CRPF were present on the occasion.

Karthik said this was the first ever surrender in Hazaribag. He said, “These three Maoists were forced to surrender after the repeated campaigns and raids by police against rebel forces.”

He added that among the three, Usha is a prize catch. She joined the Naxal organization in 2009. She and Sarita belong to Harli village under Ango police station of Churchu block of Hazaribag.

“Ango was a known Naxal belt for nearly three decades. Usha was active in the bordering areas of Chatra, Bokaro and Hazaribag and six Naxal cases were filed against her in Chatra and Hazaribag districts. The state police headquarters had announced Rs 1 lakh reward on her head.” This amount has handed over to her on Thursday.

There were no rewards on the other two but they will get benefits like land, house loan and so on under the surrender policy. Sarita joined the Maoist group in 2015. Nageshwar joined in 2018 and was active in Hazaribag and Chatra districts. “Two cases were lodged against him,” said Karthik, adding that Nageshwar belonged to Katkamdag police station.

All three surrendered Maoists said that they didn’t benefit from the Naxal movement and were happy to have returned to the mainstream.

The police officer hoped that more active members of Maoists will follow suit in Hazaribag following Thursday’s development. “For bringing Naxalites into the mainstream of society, we have launched a video which is being displayed in the Naxal areas of the district. The theme of the song is ‘wapas aao life bachao aur banao’,” he said

Naxals Issue 14-page Plan Against Security Forces in Jharkhand, Cops Prepare Counter Strategy

Naxals Issue 14-page Plan Against Security Forces in Jharkhand, Cops Prepare Counter Strategy

The CPI-Maoist will celebrate Martyr’s Memorial Week from 28 July to 3 August.

Updated: July 07, 2021, 12:26 IST

The Naxal organisation CPI Maoist is planning to challenge security forces in Jharkhand with a new strategy. The Naxals have issued a 14-page booklet detailing their dangerous plans. Jharkhand police are also preparing to thwart the nefarious design of the Naxals. The state police officials are preparing a common strategy by taking the locals in Naxal affected areas into confidence.

According to a 14-page booklet released by the Central Committee of CPI-Maoist, the Naxalites are preparing to set up base camps in East Bihar, Northeast Jharkhand and Dandakaranya regions. Maoists are increasing the strength of the organization as well as expanding the base by adding more fighters.

It has been decided by the Central Committee members of CPI-Maoist to celebrate Martyr’s Memorial Week from 28 July to 3 August.

Around 160 Maoists have been killed in the past year in police encounters and other reasons. However, casualties have been reported from both sides. According to the Maoists, 11 Naxal cadres lost their lives in Bihar-Jharkhand. The biggest massacre occurred in Dandakaranya, where a whopping 101 cadres were martyred. Apart from this, 14 comrades were martyred in Odisha, eight in Maharashtra-Madhya Pradesh-Chhattisgarh, 11 in Andhra-Odisha border area, one in Western Valley, and 14 in Telangana. Of the 160 killed, 30 are women Naxalites.

Counter strategy by police

The Jharkhand police is not taking the Naxals’ booklet lightly by any means. Counter strategy is being planned out while the coordination between security agencies is being improved.

The police have also pleaded with the residents of the state to not join the Naxalites so that the root cause of the increase in Naxal base can be eliminated.

Inspector General (Operations) Amol Vishnukant said that the booklet issued regarding the strategy of Naxalites is being verified and related instructions are being given to the Superintendent of Police of Naxal affected districts.

Two Maoists from Chhattisgarh surrender before Kothagudem SP

The police appealed to Maoists party members not to give in to pressure from their leaders and surrender before the government to join the social mainstream.

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By   |  Published: 8th Jul 2021  4:12 pmUpdated: 8th Jul 2021  4:16 pm

Kothagudem: Two Maoists from Chhattisgarh surrendered before the Kothagudem Superintendent of Police (SP) Sunil Dutt here on Thursday.

Speaking to media persons, the SP said an area committee member (ACM) of the CPI (Maoist) Party Jegurgonda Area Committee, Hemula Rama alias Laxman and a member of the Jegurugonda PLGA 10th Platoon, Madakam Paiki alias Lakshmi, surrendered to the police.

Laxman was working as guard to Divisional Committee Member (DVCM), Jagadeesh. He joined the Maoists ranks in 2016. Lakshmi joined the Maoists in 2015. They feared for their life due to the harassment by Maoist party top leadership that was against members leaving the party, Dutt noted.

The police learnt that many naxals had already left the party while many Maoist cadres were willing to leave the party. But the Maoist leaders were threatening them and putting fear among them of not being allowed to come out and lead a better social life, the official explained.

Maoist party leadership was committing excesses and violating the freedom of poor tribal members of the party. The party leadership was concerned only about their false ego and ideology but not about a better life for tribals.

The police appealed to Maoists party members not to give in to pressure from their leaders and surrender before the government to join the social mainstream, the SP said. He handed over a cash award as immediate relief to the surrendered naxals.

Manuguru ASP, P Shabarish, Additional SP (operations), V Tirupathi, Edulla Bayyaram, Inspector of Police, D Ramesh and SI, PVR Suri were present

8 Smugglers Arrested In Madhya Pradesh With Weapons Meant For Maoists

8 Smugglers Arrested In Madhya Pradesh With Weapons Meant For Maoists

Eight weapons smugglers with alleged Maoist links were arrested from the Kirnapur police station area of Madhya Pradesh’s Balaghat district.

Updated: July 08, 2021, 17:04 IST

Eight weapons smugglers with alleged Maoist links were arrested from the Kirnapur police station area of Madhya Pradesh’s Balaghat district. According to police, the Maoists were in the process of launching a huge attack, but their plans were foiled. All the arrests were made from a forest adjoining the police station area.

A huge quantity of weapons, including AK-47s and explosive materials, have been seized from the smugglers. A 32-inch pistol, magazines, 8 gelatin rods, mobile phones, and two vehicles were seized from the men.

According to inspector General Mohammad Farid Shapu, smugglers from Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan have been nabbed in this operation. He said these people have been jailed before for a similar offense.


The gang used to supply weapons to Maoist groups scattered across the Balaghat district. Intelligence reports say that Naxals were preparing to launch a big attack this month with the weapons confiscated by the police.


The cache of illegal weapons was smuggled in from Madhya Pradesh and Sikligar in Rajasthan to be delivered to the Maoists. The eight accused arrested are Ghanshyam Aanchale, Sanjay Chitrajhoda, Vijay Koreti, Rohit Butani, Shakeel Khan, Tausif, Wajid Taithri, and Jitendra Agarwal

Monday, July 05, 2021

Film, dialogue win over wary tribals in Naxal heartland, lead to successful vaccination drive

A month-and-a-half ago, such a scene would have been a far cry in this Naxal-dominated hilly terrain.

Mallampodur, Mallampodur covid-19, Mallampodur vaccination drive, covid vaccine news, vaccination drive, pune vaccine news, pune covid news, vaccine awareness, pune news, pune latest news, pune news updates, indian express news
Mallampodur, a remote village at least 200 km from the district headquarters in Gadchiroli, has not witnessed an event like a Covid vaccination camp as far as the villagers can remember. (Express Photo)

A vehicle rolls in near a huge mattress spread in front of the village choupal. A white screen is hung on the vehicle and an audio system starts blaring music in the Madia language. Soon, people start trickling in even as government staffers set up a table and chairs and the vaccination staff gets ready. Within three hours, more than 100 people receive their jabs.

Mallampodur, a remote village at least 200 km from the district headquarters in Gadchiroli, has not witnessed an event like a Covid vaccination camp as far as the villagers can remember. The residents have mostly participated in police-sponsored jan jagran melawas (awareness rallies) against Naxal influence.


So when a team of government officials arrived here on an overcast Saturday morning in the last week of June, there was no palpable tension.

A month-and-a-half ago, such a scene would have been a far cry in this Naxal-dominated hilly terrain. Nestled several kilometres apart from each other in the thickly wooded interiors of the Abujmad hills, the Madia-Gond tribals, mostly from the Chhota Madia section of the tribe, mistrusted officials and often shunned and sent them away.


The tide has now fully turned thanks to the perseverance and novel approach of officials led by Bhamragad and Etapalli (neighbouring tahsil) project officer of Integrated Tribal Development Project (ITDP), Manuj Jindal.

“What you can see here today is a result of dogged pursuit by my team of naib tahsildar Anmol Kamble and the talathis, kotwals and gram sevaks of 125 villages of the tahsil,” says Jindal, who personally attended many of these camps, including the one at Mallampodur.


Jindal transferred recently to Jalna on promotion as the chief executive officer of Jalna zilla parishad.

Says Kamble, “When we started the campaign at the end of April, we faced hostile villagers in Kospundi and Kudkeli, who sent us away and said they didn’t need the vaccine. There were a lot of misconceptions, such as vaccines causing death, ordinary people and officials receiving different vaccines, it’s part of kidney racket etc. Often, they would ask why they were being vaccinated when there was no Covid in their village. We had a difficult time convincing them. We would trek for more than 20 km to villages like Binagunda, Kuwakodi and Fodewada up on the Abujmad hills only to be ignored.”

The administration then thought of a different strategy. A film in Madia language was made, scripted by Chichoda village Talathi Sachin Kannake and directed by Yechli village Talathi Rayalu Talandi.

It featured messages by local zilla parishad and panchayat samiti members, community leaders and social activist Prakash Amte, whose Lok Biradari Prakalp at Hemalkasa village is providing several basic services like health and education to local tribals for the past 50 years.

Teams comprising heads of various other government departments were constituted at village and tahsil levels to conduct a dialogue with local villagers. Since many of them are in regular touch with villagers, their words held a lot of credibility.

The methods had the desired impact. Bhamragad’s vaccination drive has now well and truly taken off with greater success than many places across the country.

Of the 35,000 population of the tahsil, 7,239 people are above 45 years of age, according to Kamble. “Of them, we have given the first dose to 3,757,” he says. This is more than 50 per cent of the above-45 years population.

“The 18 to 45 category vaccination began 10 days ago. So far, 141 people in this category have been vaccinated,” Kamble says, adding, “Overall, 1,191 people have received both doses.”

At Mallampodur, 335 of the 638 residents have been vaccinated.

What makes the Mallampodur success significant is that no Covid cases have been reported here till now. “We haven’t had a single Covid patient yet,” says Gajanan Bhandekar, a resident of Mallampodur who is in the 45-plus category.

Asked how he realised the seriousness of the disease despite being so far away from its impact, he says, “The government has explained it to us. Now, we have no doubts about the campaign.”

Says 25-year old Manjusha Dhurve, an Arts graduate, “My mother took the jab previously. I have taken it today. I am convinced about its utility and I’m sure it helps in preventing death due to Covid.”

There are many other villages like Mallampodur that have no Covid cases but have realised the seriousness of the disease and cooperated with the vaccination drive.

Jindal also attributes the success to police making inroads in the Naxal heartlands. “In 2009, 17 policemen were killed in a Maoist ambush at the nearby Lahiri village. The police has since come a long way and managed to hold sway over places that were out of its control till a few years ago. That has helped the vaccination drive, too, like several other government initiatives.”

160 Ultras Killed In 1 Year, Maoists Hit By Double Scourge Of Police Encounters & COVID-19


Malkangiri: At least 160 Left Wing Extremists have been killed over the last 12 months in eight Maoist-affected States of India, a letter issued by the outlawed CPI (Maoist) on the occasion of Martyrs Commemoration Week (‘Shaheed Smruti Saptah’) revealed.

The 16-page letter stated, during the last 12 months, 11 Maoists have died in Bihar-Jharkhand, 101 in Dandakaranya, 14 in Odisha, 8 in Maharashtra-Madhya Pradesh-Chhattisgarh, 11 in the Andhra-Odisha border, 1 in the Western Ghats, and 14 LWE militia members have been killed in Telangana.

The letter issued by the Central Committee of the CPI (Maoist), a copy of which is in possession with OMMCOM NEWS, said, among the slain Maoists (during 2020-21), 30 are women. Apart from the skirmishes with police, lack of access to medical treatment, consumption of expired food, snake bites, and constant exposure to nature’s wrath have hit the Maoists hard.

Among the deceased Maoists are Yapa Narayana of Telangana, Pawan of Dandakaranya, Santosh Yadav, and Amresh Yadav of Bihar-Jharkhand, Ravindra killed in Odisha’s Bargarh and others. The identity of 27 Maoists is yet to be ascertained, the letter stated.

Yapa, who uses the nom de guerre Haribhushan died of COVID-19 in June this year at Bastar. He was wanted in more than 20 cases in Telangana and Chhattisgarh and had a reward of Rs 40 lakh on his head.

Similarly, Ravindra was killed was involved in multiple cases, including 18 murders. Odisha had announced a reward of Rs 5 lakh while Chhattisgarh had announced Rs 7 lakh on Ravindra’s head. The second wave of COVID-19 proved more deadly for the LWE militias who have admitted to the dread of coronavirus in the recent past

Expert who analysed digital data recovered from ‘couple with Maoist links’ deposes before Pune court

Bhelke alias Rajan alias Aditya Patil, and Kanchan Nanaware alias Bhoomi alias Sonali Patil, both from Chandrapur district, were arrested by the ATS for allegedly being active members of the CPI-Maoist.

Digital material like hard disks, a pen drive and internet data card were allegedly seized from their possession. Both were later lodged at Yerwada Central Jail.

A digital forensic expert, Ashish Duraphe, on Monday deposed as a witness before the special court in Pune hearing the case of a couple Arun Bhelke and Kanchan Nanaware, who were arrested by the state anti-terrorism squad (ATS) in September 2014 for their alleged links with the banned outfit CPI-Maoist.

Duraphe, who used to work with the forensic science laboratory (FSL), Mumbai, had conducted forensic analysis of the digital material seized from the accused. He now works with a private establishment.

Bhelke alias Rajan alias Aditya Patil, and Kanchan Nanaware alias Bhoomi alias Sonali Patil, both from Chandrapur district, were arrested by the ATS for allegedly being active members of the CPI-Maoist. ATS alleged that the couple worked in cities like Pune and Mumbai, using other aliases, and tried to indoctrinate urban youths towards the banned Maoist group.

They were charged under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. Digital material like hard disks, a pen drive and internet data card were allegedly seized from their possession. Both were later lodged at Yerwada Central Jail.

ATS claimed to have recovered from them digital items and incriminating material like communications between members of the banned Maoist group. Existing and deleted data recovered from the digital items purportedly seized from the accused has been submitted before the court.

Nanaware died on January 24 this year, following a prolonged illness.

Bhelke was produced before Special Judge S R Navandar on Monday through video- conferencing.

Prosecution lawyer Ujjwala Pawar conducted chief examination of Duraphe. The forensic expert submitted a certificate as per section 65 B of the Indian Evidence Act, certifying that content from the digital material recovered from the accused and produced before the court was correct.

During his cross-examination, defence lawyer Rahul Deshmukh claimed that during a conversation before the hearing, Duraphe was told by ATS officers to answer falsely before the court. Duraphe refuted the claim.

Advocate Deshmukh questioned Duraphe about the procedures followed during the forensic analysis of the seized digital data. Duraphe said it was mandatory not to use original ‘exhibits” for the purpose of analysis. He said image files of the original data were generated using software and then taken for analysis.

Duraphe said the “bit stream” imaging method was used for forensic analysis in this case, as it copies existing data along with deleted data, protected files and free spaces.

Deshmukh then said that for copying images, devices of higher capacity than the original have to be used, and if low-capacity devices are used, then data may not be copied properly. To this, Duraphe said the software has an “in-built capacity” to compress the data and transfer it to image files.

When Deshmukh said compressing the data affects its authenticity and integrity, Duraphe denied the claim. His cross-examination will continue on Tuesday

Stan Swamy, accused in Elgaar Parishad case, dies at 84

The 84-year-old Jesuit priest was put on ventilator after his health deteriorated further early Sunday.

Stan Swamy was admitted to a private hospital since May 30 following the directions of the Bombay High Court. (File Photo)

Father Stan Swamy, a Jesuit priest and tribal rights activist, arrested in the Elgaar Parishad case, breathed his last in a Mumbai hospital on Monday. Doctors at Holy Family Hospital, Bandra, informed the Bombay High Court that Swamy, 84, passed away around 1.30 pm.

His lawyers moved the Bombay High Court on Monday morning, seeking an urgent hearing on his medical bail plea, after he his health deteriorated on Sunday and he was put on ventilator support.


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On July 3, the HC had said that Swamy can stay in Hospital till July 6 when it will hear his bail plea.

At 2.30 pm on Monday, a division bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice N J Jamadar took up urgent hearing ‘out of turn’ on appeals by Father Stan Swamy against special court orders rejecting his bail pleas on medical grounds and merits. Beginning the hearing, the bench said, “We have received precipice, we will hear it tomorrow (Tuesday) and keep it first on board for hearing. We want in a sealed envelope his medical report from the Hospital.”


However, Senior Counsel Mihir Desai urged the HC to hear Dr Ian D’ Souza, medical director of the Holy Family Hospital.

D’Souza said, “It is with a very heavy heart I have to inform you that father Stan Swamy passed away around 1.30 pm in the hospital today. On Saturday, he (Swamy) suffered cardiac arrest at 4.30 am, we couldn’t revive him. He was put on a ventilator. Subsequent to this, he did not regain consciousness and he was declared dead at 1.24 pm today. Cause of death is definitely pulmonary infection and Parkinson’s disease among others. There were post-covid effects on his lungs.”


A Bombay HC division bench, led by Justice S S Shinde, said: “With all humility at our command, we really are shocked by hearing this news. Therefore, last hearings we immediately allowed him to remain in hospital of his choice. We have no words to express.”

Desai said that he did not have complaints against the Holy Family Hospital but raised doubts over conduct of NIA and state prison authorities. “He (Swamy) was taken to JJ Hospital ten days before shifting to Bandra Hospital but he was not tested there for Covid. There should be a judicial inquiry,” Desai said. “While the HC bench ensured that best medical care is given to him. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same thing about the NIA and the jail authorities,” Desai added.

Desai also said that since Swamy does not have close family members, his mortal remains be handed to Swamy’s friend Fr Frazer Mascarenhas, former principal of St Xavier’s College in Mumbai and currently the Parish Priest of St Peter’s Church in Bandra. Swamy’s final rites can be conducted in Mumbai itself, Desai said. The bench allowed the request.

Outside Holy Family Hospital. (Express Photo: Ganesh Shirsekar)

Public Prosecutor Deepak Thakare for the prison authorities told HC that it was necessary to conduct inquest panchnama on Swamy’s body along with the post-mortem examination before handing it over for performing last rites, which the court directed the authorities to conduct ‘forthwith’. Thakare assured HC that requisite steps will be taken during the course of the day (Monday).

The HC order added, “We make clear that all necessary inquiries, which are required to be made in case of death of appellant in custody, shall be made by competent authority. This order may not be construed as expression of opinion on any of the relevant issues in that regard,” HC noted.

Dr Dsouza further informed the court that at the time of death Fr Swamy was certified to be Covid negative. Desai said that a small funeral will be held in Mumbai in conformity with prevailing Covid SOPs.

Father Frazer Mascarenhas outside Holy Family Hospital. (Express Photo: Ganesh Shirsekar)

Swamy was in the Intensive Care Unit. He was put on a ventilator support on Sunday after he had difficulty in breathing and his oxygen levels were fluctuating, his lawyer Mihir Desai said.

The High Court had, on May 28, directed state prison authorities to shift Swamy from Taloja Central Jail in Navi Mumbai to the private Holy Family Hospital for 15 days, asking Swamy to bear the cost of his treatment. Swamy was shifted to the hospital ICU the same night and put on oxygen support. The HC continued Swamy’s stay in Bandra Hospital from time to time.

Swamy was arrested from Ranchi on October 8 last year and was lodged in Taloja central jail. He tested positive for Covid-19 on May 30.

Swamy had sought interim bail on grounds of the pandemic, citing Parkinson’s disease, among other health issues. He also filed for bail on merits before the special court, stating he was arrested for challenging the indiscriminate arrests of thousands of young adivasis labeled as “Naxals” and that there was no proof of his involvement with the banned CPI (Maoists), as alleged by the central agency. The special court disallowed his pleas.

Before he was shifted to Holy Family hospital (on May 30) following directions from the Bombay HC, Swamy had appeared before the High Court through video-conference from Taloja jail.

Swamy then told the court that when he was brought to the jail, his core systems were still functional but there has been steady regression since then and he was unable to perform his daily chores, including eating and walking without assistance.

Swamy however refused the court’s suggestion to be shifted to state-run JJ Hospital, stating that he did not want to be hospitalised there and would “rather suffer” and “possibly die very shortly” if things were to go on as they were. He had requested the court that he be granted interim bail and allowed to go to his home in Ranchi. Subsequently, he was shifted to Bandra Hospital as per May 28 HC order.

The Court on Monday said that it will hear appeals on next Tuesday, July 13, and sought records of medical condition and treatment given to the appellant from the authorities by the next hearing.

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