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Jailed activist Navlakha's spectacles 'stolen'


Mumbai, Dec 07: The family members of activist Gautam Navlakha, an accused in the Elgar Parishad-Koregaon Bhima case, on Monday claimed his spectacles were "stolen" from the Taloja prison where he is lodged, causing acute discomfort to him given his extremely poor eyesight.

Gautam Navlakha

They said Navlakha''s spectacles were "stolen" on November 27 and he was yet to get a new pair of glasses for which they blamed the prison authorities.

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They claimed Navlakha is "almost blind" without the spectacles and yet, when they sent a pair of new glasses to him by post earlier this month, the prison authorities refused to accept the eyewear and sent it back.

"Presently Gautam Navlakha is in acute distress, is unable to see things around him and consequently his blood pressure has shot up," read a statement circulated in the evening by Navlakha''s lawyers that was signed by the activist''s wife Sahba Husain.

The statement also had an image of the postal receipt of the parcel containing the pair of spectacles that was sent to the Taloja prison located in adjoining Raigad district.

In the statement, Navlakha''s family claimed though he was in much distress following the loss of his glasses, the activist was permitted by the prison authorities to call his family only on November 30.

It said the conduct of the prison authorities was "perverse and cruel".

Navlakha had surrendered before the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing the nearly three- year-old case, on April 14, 2020.

Between August 29 and October 1, 2018, the activist had been kept under house arrest.

The case pertains to the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Maharashtra''s Pune district on December 31, 2017, which, the police alleged, was funded by Maoists.

The speeches made by some activists at the conclave triggered violence near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial on outskirts of Pune city the next day, according to the police charge sheet.

The NIA later took over the case in which several activists and academicians have been named as accused.

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