Letters to the Editor — July 7, 2021

Father Stan Swamy

There cannot be anything more frustrating than the court hearing the bail application of Father Stan Swamy when he was on a ventilator. The entire system seems to be on a ventilator. Nobody can express their grief beyond that. The narratives show that all this was because of his continued incarceration in jail, and not granting him bail. When it was pointed out to the court that it took 10 days for him to be transferred from the jail to the hospital, the court expressed its shock. In ordinary parlance, this is called passing the buck. However, what was actually shocking was the court’s refusal to grant him bail.

When Gandhiji was confined to the Aga Khan Palace and was seriously ill, the colonial rulers had the presence of mind to release him lest take the ignominy of him dying in their custody. They were prepared to give him the best of treatment. Yet, from jail to a hospital does not make much of a difference. It is still custody. The jurisprudence seems to be not custodial rights but custodian’s rights. Where are we heading?

N.G.R. Prasad,


A certain rivalry has always existed between the state and activists at all times. But the incarceration of a veteran social worker, on vague charges, and which must be read as an attempt by the Government to capture and monopolise the nationalistic narrative, and his death, has ended up creating a martyr in Father Stan Swamy, and has tarnished the image of the state machinery.

Preetha Salil,


Democracy is also about the quintessential premise that every individual has certain basic rights which includes the right to live and die with dignity. But this right has not been served many a time in the largest democracy of the world, and Father Stan Swamy’s death has brought out this ghastly truth of our system. It is disturbing that a man who fought for the most marginalised sections of the society, had to appeal in court to get a straw and sipper. His death is not just a death of an individual but it is also the death of a belief in democracy and justice.

Aditya Jhingan,

Khirkiya, Harda, Madhya Pradesh

It is a sad reflection of the growing insensitivity and dehumanisation of our criminal justice system which is bent at will by the rulers of the day to suit their partisan ends. The sky would not have fallen had he been granted bail and the law allowed to take its own course. His words from jail, “We will still sing in chorus. A caged bird can still sing,” should inspire those who care for human rights in the country to raise their voice in a chorus to turn the spotlight on disturbing aberrations in the country.

Manohar Alembath,

Kannur, Kerala

The antagonism of the Indian state towards human rights activists who speak for the Adivasis stems from its commitment to corporate interests. Whether it is the UPA or the NDA, people who fight against the human-rights violations of tribal people and their continuous displacement are hunted out. It was in colonial India that people struggling for the rights of fellow citizens were imprisoned without trial. To see the same situation continue in independent India is really harrowing.

Sukumaran C.V.,

Palakkad, Kerala

The Government should not be so insensitive to the extent that it is left to the media to highlight the pathetic plight of such (elderly and unwell) prisoners, which results in collective anger and anguish.

The judiciary should perhaps be given more freedom to coordinate with human rights commissions to decide the issue of release on bail on a case-to-case basis for all prisoners who are elderly.

One wonders what the fate of other old, infirm and vulnerable prisoners is like.

D. Nagarjuna,


His passing is a black letter day. Even the judiciary that failed to grant timely bail to Father Stan Swamy on medical grounds cannot escape. He was subject to inhuman treatment including denying him a very humane request for a sipper with straw to drink water. One cannot help but contrast his plight with political figures released on bail on medical grounds and then making it big in political circles.

Tharcius S. Fernando,


Warfare today

The CoDS, for whatever reason, has kindled a debate as old as the Second World War. In later day warfare, air superiority became vital; it is hard to win a battle on the basis of the army alone.

This era increasingly uses new technologies to engage in any conflict zone with a minimal military footprint — through remote warfare. This also strategically creates a political distance between the nation and the sites of its military interventions that stand enhanced by powerful armed drones and meticulous special operations. It is surprising that we should engage in debates that are far less relevant today.

R. Narayanan,

Navi Mumbai

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Printable version | Sep 24, 2021 6:56:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/letters-to-the-editor-july-7-2021/article35179856.ece

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