Skip to main content

Malicious, spiteful, inhuman, motivated, vindictive: PUCL on arrest of Fr Stan Swamy

Counterview Desk

Condemning the detention of 83 year old Fr Stan Swamy, a well-known Ranchi-based tribal rights activist, in the Bhima Koregaon case, India’s premier human rights organization, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), has said that it is “shocked” by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) move to take him to Mumbai to be remanded for being part of “larger conspiracy” to cause unrest following the violence in Pune, Maharashtra, in January 2018.
Calling it “sheer vindictiveness”, PUCL said, Stan Swamy, who is also a Jesuit priest, and who has been consistently cooperating with the NIA, has “always professed his commitment to the Constitution of India and peaceful means of expressing dissent while questioning abuse of power by state executive and police.”
A statement, signed by Ravi Kiran Jain, PUCL president, and general secretary, Dr V Suresh, said, “Through the arrest of Fr Stan, the NIA is yet again sending a message to the rest of the human rights community that there is no level to which they will not stoop to silence and crush dissent.”

Text:

PUCL is shocked by and condemns the detention and arrest by NIA police team of 83 year old Fr. Stan Swamy from his residence in Bagaicha, Ranchi to take him to Mumbai to be remanded in the Bhima Koregaon (BK) case for allegedly being part of the larger conspiracy to cause unrest.
The inhuman and insincere act of the NIA authorities in arresting Fr. Stan stands out for its sheer vindictiveness for Fr Stan fully cooperated with the Investigating officers of the NIA when they questioned him in the Jesuit Residence in Bagaicha for over 15 hours, on July 27, 28, 29, 30 and August 6. Despite his advanced age and other age related ailments, Fr Stan patiently answered all queries put to him. It should be noted that Fr Stan’s residence was raided on August 28, 2018 by the Pune Police then in charge of the BK case and his laptop, tablet, camera etc were seized.
PUCL states that the arrest of Fr Stan by the NIA is malicious and spiteful as Fr Stan has consistently denied any link with extremist leftist forces or Maoists. 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. 
What also exposes the NIA action as motivated is revealed by the fact that in October 2018, the police told the Bombay HC that Fr Stan was only a suspect and not an accused. Thereafter, for six weeks after he was questioned the NIA kept quiet. Now as the six month period for completing investigation after the arrest of Gautam Navalakha and Anand Teltumbde on April 14, 2020 is approaching, the NIA wants to arrest Fr Stan Swamy and possibly other activists under the completely fabricated and non-existent conspiracy of Bhima Koregaon case.
PUCL would like to point out that the true reason for NIA arresting Fr Stan Swamy is because he had dared to expose the large scale abuse of anti-terror and sedition laws by the previous BJP-led Jharkhand government. Thousands of Adivasis were falsely implicated and arrested for exercising their fundamental right of protest in the Pathalgadi movement and kept in prison without hearing.
What exposes NIA action as motivated is revealed by the fact that in October 2018, police told Bombay HC that Fr Stan was only a suspect and not an accused
Fr Stan’s meticulous documentation of the untold suffering experienced by Adivasi youth, hundreds of whom were imprisoned for no offence at all, earned the ire of the police and the State which launched a witch hunt against Fr Stan and some others in the human rights movement in Jharkhand. The data analysis of thousands of adivasis arbitrarily arrested by the police was also put in an affidavit in a PIL filed before the Jharkhand High Court which upset the Government.
Fr. Stan has always professed his commitment to the Constitution of India and peaceful means of expressing dissent while questioning abuse of power by state executive and police. Through the arrest of Fr Stan, the NIA is yet again sending a message to the rest of the human rights community that there is no level to which they will not stoop to silence and crush dissent.
PUCL demands that the NIA immediately release Fr. Stan Swamy and refrain from carrying out these arbitrary and motivated arrests of innocent law abiding citizens.

Religious Forum to protest on October 10

In a separate statement released by Fr Cedric Prakash, Gujarat-based human rights activist, the Forum of Religious for Justice and Peace has said that the NIA “did not serve a warrant on Fr Stan" while detaining him, pointing out, its behaviour was “absolutely arrogant and rude”, demanding from the Government of India his immediate “safe, unconditional and immediate release”.
Calling Fr Stan “an 83 year old, frail and peace-loving citizen of India, who has given his life in the service of the Adivasis and other marginalised sections of society”, the statement said, the NIA action “speaks volumes of the deterioration of the democratic ethos in the country”, insisting, the authorities must ensure that after more than 15 hours of interrogation he is not “victimised.”
The Forum declared its intention to observe October 10 “as the of prayer and fast and wherever possible demonstration” against “illegal” detention and incarceration of all human rights defenders and other dissenters in the Bhima Koregaon case, calling upon those cherishing “the rights and freedom enshrined in our Constitution to join us to help ensure his immediate release.”

Comments

Thanks for sharing this.

TRENDING

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

How lead petitioner was rendered homeless when GM mustard matter came up in SC

By Rosamma Thomas*  On January 5, 2023, the Supreme Court stayed a December 20, 2022 direction of the Uttarakhand High Court to the Indian Railways and the district administration of Haldwani to use paramilitary forces to evict thousands of poor families occupying land that belonged to the railways.  Justice AS Oka remarked that it was not right to order the bringing in of paramilitary forces. The SC held that even those who had no rights, but were living there for years, needed to be rehabilitated. On December 21, 2022, just as she was getting ready to celebrate Christmas, researcher Aruna Rodrigues was abruptly evicted from her home in Mhow Cantonment, Madhya Pradesh – no eviction notice was served, and nearly 30 Indian Army soldiers bearing arms were part of the eviction process. What is noteworthy in this case is that the records establishing possession of the house date back to 1892 – the title deed with the name of Dr VP Cardoza, Rodrigues’ great grandfather, is dated November 14

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Tax buoyancy claims when less than 4% Indian dollar millionaires pay income tax

By Prasanna Mohanty  In FY18, the last year for which disaggregated income tax data is available, only 29,002 ITRs declared income above Rs 5 crore, while Credit Suisse said India had 7.25 lakh dollar millionaires (the wealth equivalent of Rs 8 crore and above) that year. Often enough, the Centre claims that demonetization in 2016 raised tax collections, improved tax efficiency, and expanded the tax base. Now RBI Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) member Ashima Goyal has also joined their ranks, attributing the “claims” of rising tax collections in the current fiscal year to “tax buoyancy” brought by the demonetisation . Do such claims have any basis in official records? The answer is unequivocal. The budget documents show the tax-to-GDP ratio (direct plus indirect tax) increased from 10.6% in FY16 (pre-demonetization) to 11.2% in FY17, remained there in FY18 (demonetization and GST fiscals), and then fell to 9.9% in FY20. In FY22, it improved to 10.8% and is estimated to drop to 10.7% in

Gandhian unease at Mahadev Desai book launch: Sabarmati Ashram may lose free space

By Rajiv Shah  A simmering apprehension has gripped the Gandhians who continue to be trustees of the Sabarmati Ashram: the “limited freedom” to express one’s views under the Modi dispensation still available at the place which Mahatma Gandhi made his home from 1917 to 1930 may soon be taken away. Also known as Harijan Ashram, a meeting held for introducing yet-to-be-released book, “Mahadev Desai: Mahatma Gandhi's Frontline Reporter”, saw speaker and after speaker point towards “narrowing space” in Gujarat for Gandhians (as also others) to express themselves. Penned by veteran journalist Nachiketa Desai, grandson of Mahadev Desai, while the book was planned to be released on January 1 and the meeting saw several prominent personalities, including actor-director Nandita Das, her scholar-mother Varsha Das, British House of Lords member Bhikhu Parekh, among others, speak glowingly about the effort put in for bringing out the book, exchanges between speakers suggested it should be rele

Why no information with Assam state agency about female rhino poaching for a year?

By Nava Thakuria   According to official claims, incidents of poaching related to rhinoceros in various forest reserves of Assam in northeast India have decreased drastically. Brutal laws against the poachers, strengthening of ground staff inside the protected forest areas and increasing public awareness in the fringe localities of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries across the State are the reasons cited for positively impacting the mission to save the one-horned rhinos. Officials records suggest, only two rhinos were poached in Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve since 1 January 2021 till date. The last incident took place probably in the last week of December 2021, as a decomposed carcass of a fully-grown (around 30 years old) female rhino was recovered inside the world-famous forest reserve next month. As the precious horn was missing, for which the gigantic animal was apparently hunted down, it could not be a natural death. Ironically, however, it was not confirmed when

Civil rights leaders allege corporate loot of resources, suppression of democratic rights

By Our Representative  Civil rights activists have alleged, quoting top intelligence officers as also multiple international forensic reports, that recent developments with regard to the Bhima Koregaon and the Citizenship Amendment Act-National Register of Citizens (CAA-NRC) cases suggest, there was "no connection between the Elgaar Parishad event and the Bhima Koregaon violence." Activists of the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) told a media event at the HKS Surjeet Bhawan, New Delhi, that, despite this, several political prisoners continue to be behind bars on being accused under the anti-terror the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Addressed by family members of the political prisoners, academics, as well as social activists, it was highlighted how cases were sought to be fabricated against progressive individuals, democratic activists and intellectuals, who spoke out against "corporate loot of Indian resources, suppression of basic democratic

Kerala natural rubber producers 'squeezed', attend to their plight: Govt of India told

By Rosamma Thomas   Babu Joseph, general secretary of the National Federation of Rubber Producers Societies (NFRPS) at a recent discussion at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, explained that it is high time the Union government paid greater heed to the troubles plaguing the rubber production sector in India – rubber is a strategic product, important for the military establishment and for industry, since natural rubber is still used in the manufacture of tyres for large vehicles and aeroplanes. Synthetic rubber is now quite widespread, but styrene, which is used in making synthetic rubber and plastics, and also butadiene, another major constituent of synthetic rubber, are both hazardous. Prolonged exposure to these even in recycled rubber can cause neurological damage. Kerala produces the bulk of India’s natural rubber. In 2019-20, Kerala’s share in the national production of rubber was over 74%. Over 20% of the gross cropped area in the state is under rubber cultivation, with total

Bangladesh 'rights violations': US softens stance, fears increased clout of China, India

By Tilottama Rani Charulata*  In December 2021, in addition to the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), the United States imposed sanctions on seven former and current officers of the force, alleging serious human rights violations. Benazir Ahmed and former RAB-7 commander Miftah Uddin Ahmed were banned from entering the US. RAB as an institution was also canceled the support it was getting from the US and its allies. At the same time, those under the ban have been notified of confiscation of assets held abroad. The anti-crime and anti-terrorism unit of the Bangladesh Police, RAB is the elite force consisting of members of the Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Police, Bangladesh Navy, Bangladesh Air Force, Border Guard Bangladesh, Bangladesh Civil Service and Bangladesh Ansar, and has been criticized by rights groups for its use of extrajudicial killings and is accused of forced disappearances. The government of Bangladesh has been insisting about lifting the ban on RAB, but the US had till recen