Father Stan Swamy (1937-2021)

Calls for accountability over Stan Swamy’s death

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.   | Photo Credit: M. Karunakaran

Political leaders and activists on Monday called for accountability over the death of 84-year-old jesuit priest and tribal rights activist Father Stan Swamy.

Fr. Stan was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) last year in connection with the Elgar Parishad case and his health had been deteriorating since.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi offered his condolences, saying “he deserved justice and humaneness”, in a tweet.

Congress MP and senior advocate Kapil Sibal said in a tweet that Fr. Stan passed away without getting bail and there was “little hope of early trial”. He said others were languishing in jail too. “...Lawyers, Academics, Social Activists....raise their voices for the voiceless They too are now “voiceless” The State calls them “ terrorists”,” he tweeted.

Congress MP Jairam Ramesh said in a tweet, “Who in the apparatus of the Indian state will be held responsible for this tragedy? Make no mistake - it is the Indian state that killed Fr. Stan Swamy, who was such a passionate crusader for social justice.”

D. Raja’s charge

General secretary of the Communist Party of India D. Raja said Fr. Stan Swamy’s death was an institutional murder. “Both the state machinery and the judiciary are responsible for his death. The state was not ready to give him even a straw. This is the height of insensitivity. The judiciary conduct is also questionable. On what grounds did they deny bail to a 84-year-old person who was suffering from multiple illness.”

Kavita Krishnan, member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) politburo, hit out at the Central government as well as the judiciary over Fr. Stan’s death. “It’s over. Modi & Shah have accomplished the custodial killing of the gentle Jesuit social worker Fr Stan Swamy, who spent his life serving the oppressed. I hope the judges who denied him bail never get to sleep at night: they have blood on their hands,” she said in a tweet.

CPI (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said he was “deeply pained and outraged” at the death of Fr. Stan. “...A jesuit priest & social activist he tirelessly helped the marginalised. Draconian UAPA custody, inhuman treatment since October 2020 with no charge established. Accountability must be fixed for this murder in custody,” he said in a tweet.

Announcing Fr. Stan’s death, Dr. Stanislaus D’Souza SJ of the Jesuit Provincial of India said: “On behalf of the Jesuits of India, especially the Jesuits of Jamshedpur Jesuit Province, I express my deepest condolences to the family members, friends, lawyers, well-wishers and all those who stood by Stan and prayed for him during this moment of trial and suffering.”

Lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan said, “This is nothing less than murder by the State of one of the gentlest & kindest men I have known. Unfortunately our judicial system is also complicit in this”.

Singer and activist T.M. Krishna said in a tweet: “Just heard that Father Stan Swamy passed away. The Indian Government and our insensitive Judiciary are responsible for all that he went through towards the end of his life.”


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Printable version | Aug 2, 2021 12:36:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/calls-for-accountability-over-stan-swamys-death/article35147806.ece

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