"Modi govt killed Father Stan Swamy": React Twitterati after 84 year old activist passes away

Ailing octogenarian tribal rights activist Father Stan Lourduswamy -- accused in the Bhima Koregaon case who was awaiting bail on medical grounds -- passed away on Monday afternoon

Father Stan Swamy (File photo)
Father Stan Swamy (File photo)
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NH Web Desk

Ailing octogenarian tribal rights activist Father Stan Lourduswamy -- accused in the Koregoan-Bhima case who was awaiting bail on medical grounds -- passed away on Monday afternoon.

After his death, his lawyer Mihir Desai demanded a judicial inquiry into the matter. He said he had no problems with the high court or the Holy Family hospital but held the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Taloja central prison responsible for his death, The Wire reported.

Jarkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, a coalition of progressive civil rights organisations, said in a statement that the NIA, which is investigating the Elgar Parishad case and the Union government are “solely responsible for the sufferings of this elderly person and [his] current state of affairs”.

Father Stan Swamy was seriously ill since May, he had contracted COVID-19 too, but was denied bail and was shifted to a private hospital only after the high court instructed so.

Soon after the news of his demise broke out, condolences messages started pouring in on social media platforms for the 84 year old activist.

All India Catholic Association too issued a statement condoling his demise:

The All India Catholic Association mourns the death of Jesuit Fr Stanislaus Swamy, 84, in the Holy Family Hospital, Mumbai where he was brought in his last few days after facing inhuman treatment while in jail together with others arrested in the so called Bhima Koregaon conspiracy to murder political leaders. Stan swamy and the others denied the charges, as human rights movements accusing the state of using the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act to crush dissent and the rights of India’s Dalits and Tribal communities.

His lawyers have asked the Bombay High Court to order a judicial enquiry into all aspects of his incarceration and death. The All India Catholic Union reaffirms this demand for a Judicial enquiry, and also demands the repeal of the UAPA and such draconian laws under which thousands of people, old and young have been put in jail and denied rudimentary justice.

His was a death foretold. It was clear that the State had, in cold blood, decided to wreak on him and others the full might of its vengeance for daring to speak for the poor and the deprived. Fr Stan, the legendary worker for the rights of tribal and the indigenous people in India and elsewhere in the world, lived in Ranchi, Jharkhand. He was in his small room when he was arrested, his computer and other belongings seized and put into jail. He told his interrogators of the police and the National Investigations Agency then and later that he was totally innocent of charges put on him.

In jail, with his health failing with advanced states of Parkinson’s disease, he was denied basic human dignity and facilities including a simple water sipper as he could no longer hold a cup in his trembling hands. A man who could hardly move, he was systematically denied bail by various courts. Ironically, his last bail application came up for hearing in the afternoon of 5 July when the Director of the Holy Family Hospital gave a simple statement that Fr Stan had passed away.

The course of the various stages of his bail application, the manner in which the investigating agencies and the prosecution insisted he was too dangerous to be released are ample evidence that the state wanted to make an example out of him, and the others arrested with him.

One of Fr. Stan Swamy’s last messages from jail was “What is happening to me is not something unique, happening to me alone. It is a broader process that is taking place all over the country. We are all aware how prominent intellectuals, lawyers, writers, poets, activists, student leaders – they are all put in jail just because they have expressed their dissent… I am ready to pay the price whatever may it be.”

But even from jail, Fr Stan would not allow his spirit to be arrested by his inhumane treatment and a vengeful state. . Even in Jail the free bird sings, he told Jesuit colleagues.

In life and in his martyrdom, Fr Stan Swamy has become a beacon for all who struggle for human rights, specially the rights of the Tribals and other marginalised people, and a role model for young men and women across the nation.

Twitterati also called it a murder by the Central government.

Here is a collection of some of these posts:


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Published: 05 Jul 2021, 3:55 PM