‘Stan Swamy’s arrest a violation of human rights’, say civil rights activists

Activists condemn the ‘vindictive attitude’ of NIA authorities

Published - October 10, 2020 04:32 am IST - BHUBANESWAR

Demonstrators hold placards in Ranchi on October 9, 2020 during a protest  against the arrest of Father Stan Swamy by the NIA the previous evening.

Demonstrators hold placards in Ranchi on October 9, 2020 during a protest against the arrest of Father Stan Swamy by the NIA the previous evening.

Civil rights activists and organisations on Friday condemned the arrest of Stan Swamy , 83-year-old tribal rights activist, by the National Investigation Agency in the Bhima Koregaon case.

Mr. Swamy, arrested on Thursday from his Ranchi house, was sent to judicial custody till October 23.

Terming the arrest a gross violation of human rights and democratic norms, the activists said, “Mr. Swamy has worked for Adivasi rights since decades in Jharkhand.”

“The inhuman act of the NIA authorities in arresting Mr. Swamy stands out for its sheer vindictiveness. He fully cooperated with the investigating officers when they questioned him for over 15 hours [on 27, 30 July and 6 August],” they said in a statement.

The activists pointed out that Mr. Swamy had consistently denied any link with extremist leftist forces or Maoists.

Also read: Bhima Koregaon case | Arrested activists allege NIA pressure to apologise

“He had also clearly told the NIA that some so-called extracts allegedly taken from his computer shown to him by the NIA were fake and fabricated and that he disowned them,” says the statement.

“Among other issues, he works on displacement, corporate loot of resources, the condition of undertrials and the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act. Mr. Swamy has been a vocal critic of the BJP government’s attempts to amend land laws and the land acquisition Act in Jharkhand, and a strong advocate of the Forest Rights Act, PESA and related laws,” it says.

“We firmly believe that the Bhima-Koregaon case is baseless,” the activists said in the statement.

They appealed to Chief Minister Hemant Soren, who had earlier opposed Mr. Swamy’s arrest, to resist the arrest this time too. Mr. Soren should demand the immediate release of Mr. Swamy and closure of the case, said Bharat Bhushan Choudhary of the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha.

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