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Raid on Stan Swamy's house a "govt attempt" to strike terror among activists

By Our Representative
About 75 civil rights activists, mainly from Jharkhand, have said that the recent raid on the house of Father Stan Swamy – alongside raids on several other civil rights activists across the country – is “an attempt by the government to strike terror among those who are fighting for justice for the marginalized.” Among the top signatories is development economist Prof Jean Dreze, a close associate of Nobel laureate Amartya Sen.
A well-known activist of Jharkhand, the statement says, he works “on displacement, corporate loot of resources, the condition of undertrials and PESA” and is a “vocal critic of the 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. We know Stan as an exceptionally gentle, honest and public-spirited person.”
During the raid in the Bagaicha campus by the Maharashtra and Jharkhand police around 6 am on August 28, 2018, the police confiscated Stan’s mobile, laptop, some audio cassettes, some CDs, and a recent press release on the Pathalgadi movement by Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS). He was not told about the details of the charges against him, says the statement.
“The raid comes just a few weeks after Stan and 19 other persons including activists, journalists and intellectuals were booked on charges of sedition by the Jharkhand government”, the statement says, adding, “The police have cited their Facebook posts as evidence of their role in the Pathalgadi movement in Khunti. Among other sections, they have been booked under 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, which was repealed by the Supreme Court in 2015.”
Calling the raid and arrests “politically motivated and unjustified”, the statement says, these “are part of the government’s growing attempts to stifle dissent and intimidate those who are fighting for justice. “We demand immediate release of the arrested individuals and dropping of all false charges against them”, it adds.
Those who have signed the statement include representatives of several civil society organizations including Adivasi Women's Network, Right to Food Campaign Jharkhand, Samajwadi Jan Parishad, National Alliance of People's Movements, All India People Science Network, All India People's Forum, Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samity, individual activists and concerned citizens, prominent academics, research scholars, and professionals from different walks of life.

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