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Protest staged against arrest of 16 human rights activists

October 31, 2020 08:32 pm | Updated 08:32 pm IST - TIRUNELVELI

Members of some political parties and forums stage a demonstration in Tirunelveli on Saturday.

Members of some political parties and forums stage a demonstration in Tirunelveli on Saturday.

Condemning the “unlawful arrest” of 16 human rights activists, including 83-year-old Jesuit priest Rev. Fr. Stan Swami, and registration of fake cases against Muslims who staged a protest against attacks on them in North East Delhi, people from various walks of life staged a demonstration here on Saturday.

Led by Bishop of Palayamkottai Roman Catholic Diocese Most Rev. S. Antonysamy, the protestors raised slogans. The protestors said the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Union government, which abhorred voices of dissent, had arrested the 16 human rights activists, including Rev. Fr. Stan Swami, who had dedicated his life for improving the lot of tribes of Bihar and Jharkhand in the past 50 years. He had published several reports about the pathetic condition of the tribal people whose rights had been denied by the powerful.

When they were chased away from their homeland, Rev. Fr. Stan created awareness of their rights enshrined in the Indian Constitution, for which he was arrested by the National Investigating Agency.

When the Muslims staged a protest in a democratic manner against attacks unleashed on the community in North East Delhi, they were crushed by the police who foisted cases and arrested them.

The Tamil Nadu government should release the Muslim remand prisoners, who are languishing in jails for more than 10 years without any formal trial in the court of law after being arrested in connection with fake cases registered against them, the protestors said.

They thanked the official machinery for detaining under National Security Act those who smashed the cemeteries of Christians recently. “The district, which witnessed gruesome caste clashes in the past, should not witness religious divide and consequent clashes. Since vandalising of the cemeteries is aimed at driving a wedge among different faiths, the district administration and the police have taken the right step at the right time,” said the Bishop.

The protest was organised by a few political parties, People’s Citizenship Protection Movement and the Confederation of Secular and Human Rights Protection Movements.

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