With great anger, the Communist Ghadar Party of India condemns the custodial killing of Father Stan Swamy, at a Mumbai hospital on July 5, 2021.
The Indian state and all its institutions are fully responsible for the cold blooded murder of a personality whose only “crime” was that he was a man of conscience who steadfastly exposed and opposed the exploitation and oppression of adivasis and fought for their rights.
Born in 1937 in Tiruchirapalli in Tamilnadu, Stan Lourduswamy, popularly known as Fr Stan Swamy, became a Jesuit priest and dedicated his life to working for the rights and upliftment of tribal peoples in the Jharkhand region.
Fr Swamy was arrested by the NIA in October 2020, in connection with the ‘Elgar Parishad- Bheema Koregaon’ case and had been held in custody since then. The Indian state and its investigative agencies charged him under the UAPA accusing him of participating in a conspiracy to wage war against the state. The charges against Fr Swamy were completely trumped up.
The real reason for his incarceration was that he stood for the rights of adivasi people in Jharkhand, who have been the victims of the most barbaric state terror and violence, unleashed in the name of “eliminating the Maoist threat”. He was vocal in exposing the role of the state in the service of the big monopoly corporate houses, whose real aim is to fulfill their rapacious greed by violently displacing the adivasi people and grabbing the land and precious resources of our people. The very fact that an honest and upright person, a man of conscience, with education and knowledge of law, was fighting for the people’s rights and questioning their arbitrary arrests and murders at the hands of the state earmarked him as an enemy of the state.
Fr Swamy was suffering Parkinsonism, a serious disease leading to many debilitating conditions, including the inability to be able to drink fluids normally. The barbarity of the criminal justice system in our country can be gauged from the fact that it was only after prolonged protests by human rights activists all over the country and thousands of concerned people that the prison authorities even allowed him the use of a sipper cup and a flexi-straw.
Fr Swamy had sought interim bail so as to be able to go back to Ranchi which he had made his home. During one of his bail petition hearings, the NIA had gone to the extent of cruelly suggesting that Fr Swamy was trying to “exaggerate the dangers posed to his health by Covid” to try and gain the sympathy of the Court to obtain bail – even though he actually did contract the infection in jail.
This 84 year old fighter for the rights of the people was repeatedly denied release on bail for medical treatment by the NIA, the courts hearing his bail plea and other authorities, even though he was suffering from various ailments and had also contracted the Covid-19 infection while in prison. He was finally shifted to a hospital in May 2021 due to the deterioration of his health condition.
Throughout the entire period of his incarceration, Fr Swamy had steadfastly denied having any involvement with the Bheema Koregaon case. Even in the 5000 page charge sheet of the case, based largely on what many subsequent revelations have shown to be fabricated and planted evidence, less than 10 pages have any mention of anything against him. Yet he was arrested and repeatedly denied bail.
The Communist Ghadar Party of India, together with all other organisations fighting for the rights of the people has been consistently demanding that draconian laws such as the UAPA, NSA, the Public Security Acts in various states and numerous others –under which people can be arrested and detained indefinitely without any charge-sheet or trial and even denied bail — should be immediately revoked.
The custodial murder of Fr Stan Swamy is a call to all men and women of conscience, to step up the struggle to replace the existing state, which denies people even the right to conscience, with a new state in which human, democratic and national rights, including the right to conscience, will be guaranteed as inviolable.