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Raid on Stan Swamy meant to intimidate tribal rights activists: PUCL

By Our Representative
The People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has said that the Maharashtra police conducted raid and search in the residence of well-known tribal rights activist 83-year-old Father Stan Swamy at Bagaicha Campus in Namkum, Ranchi, Jharkhand, "without obtaining judicial search warrant", seizing his computer’s hard disk, internet modem and other storage devices, and forcing him to give his gmail and Facebook passwords.
Pointing out that the objective of the raid on Thursday morning was "to intimidate, scare and frighten all others – rights activists, democratically minded groups and concerned citizens – from extending any type of support to Stan Swamy and others", PUCL said, "These activists have for some years now been opposing state terrorism let loose in Jharkhand by a corrupt mafia of corrupt police and government officials, greedy politicians and vested corporate interests who have been attempting to grab valuable forest lands of adivasis."
"Stan Swamy has been diligently documenting the illegal actions of the state police and security forces brazenly violating all laws, arresting and imprisoning hundreds of local adivasis, extensive use of torture and numerous other rights violations", said the PUCL statement signed by Ravi Kiran Jain, national president, and Dr V Suresh, national general secretary.
It added, "The continued harassment, intimidation and terrorization of Stan Swamy is part of the same tactics used by the Maharashtra - Pune police, with the support of the Central government, to illegally arrest other rights activists."
Drawing a parallel with the arrest of Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Fereira, Varavara Rao and detain Gautam Navalakha and Anand Teltumbde in the "infamous" Bhima Koregaon case, PUCL said, "The aim is clearly to strike terror in the hearts of any citizen from criticizing the anti-people, undemocratic, brazenly illegal actions of the BJP led government in Maharashtra and the Centre and in Jharkhand."
Calling such activists as “urban naxals”, the aim is also to create "fear in the minds of ordinary people from raising their voices against open, brazen and defiant abuse of law by the police", PUCL said, demanding "immediate end to the abuse of law by the Maharashtra police which is launching a witch hunt to ensnare and entrap many more activists in criminal prosecutions."

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