Skip to main content

'Institutional murder': PUCL, other rights groups condemn Fr Stan's 'custodial' death

By Our Representative 

India’s premier human rights organisation, People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL), has joined several other rights organisations to say that the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the Central government and the Prison authorities are “together responsible for this wholly unnecessary and fully preventable death” of Fr Stan Swamy. “which actually amounts to “institutional murder.”
In a statement, PUCL said, “We strongly condemn the totally callous, insensitive and vengeful approach of the prosecution authorities to the prayer for interim bail to Fr Stan and other prisoners like him who suffered medical conditions making them vulnerable to Covid infections while inside prison.”
Fr Stan was arrested in October 2020 in the Bhima Koregaon case and kept in prison even though he was 84 years old, was suffering from Parkinson’s disease and had to be assisted for even ordinary chores like holding a glass of water.
PUCL said, “The vengefulness of the National Investigative Agency (NIA) and the brute nature of the Indian government are exposed by the strident attack launched by NIA who fought viciously to deny bail to Fr Stan even when it became apparent that his health was deteriorating.”
It added, “An equally heartless and pitiless prison administration adamantly refused timely medical treatment even when it was clear that he was suffering what appeared to be typical Covid symptoms.”
According to PUCL, had Fr Stan been alive, he “would have fully endorsed the call that all prisoners, especially political prisoners, including the other Bhima Koregaon co-prisoners who still are in jail be released on bail, as a measure to decongest prisons and ensure safety of prisoners from being affected by Corona pandemic.”

All India Catholic Association

The All India Catholic Association (AICA) said in a statement, Fr Stan was brought to the Holy Family hospital “after facing inhuman treatment while in jail together with others arrested in the so-called Bhima Koregaon conspiracy to murder political leaders.”
Arrested under the “draconian” Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), AICA, in a statement, demanded “judicial enquiry” in his death and sought repeal of UAPA and similar “draconian laws” under which thousands of people, old and young “have been put in jail and denied rudimentary justice”, adding, “The state had, in cold blood, decided to wreak on him and others the full might of its vengeance for daring to speak for the poor and the deprived.”

National Coordination of Human Rights Organisations

The National Coordination of Human Rights Organisations (NCHRO), said, Fr Stan “was incarcerated on fabricated charges in the Bhima Koregaon case”, adding, “The Bhima Koregaon case is a notorious example of activists being targeted by the Indian government for standing up for justice.”
It said, “The death of Fr Stan has to be seen in the context of the overall assault on justice-loving people by the Indian government. His death is an institutional murder, one that will not be forgotten. History will remember that when the most dedicated activists were languishing in jail on false charges and their health was deteriorating, the Indian government turned a blind eye.”

Popular Front of India

The Popular Front of India (PFI) said the demise of Fr Stan shows the “draconian UAPA and the vicious form of state vendetta that does not even spare an octogenarian priest with serious chronic diseases”, adding, it only exposes “the rot in our criminal justice system.”
"It is with deep sorrow and resentment that we received the news of the sad demise of Fr Stan", PFI said, adding, "The cruelty committed on him has no justification in a civilized society... Father will be remembered as a man who lived by his ideals to the last moment. He found the fulfilment of his faith in serving the marginalized sections of society and fighting for their rights." 

Indian Community Activists’ Network 

The Indian Community Activists’ Network (ICAN) has described Father Stan Swamy’s death in “custody” an “unspeakable crime by the state, a slow and painful murder in full public view”, and “the height of misuse of state power to incarcerate a terminally sick old man on false charges.”
Pointing out that he was “a friend and advisor to all activists who wanted to help the indigenous people of Central India tribal belt”, in a statement, ICAN convener Dipak Dholakia added, he helped understand “the root cause of the under-development of the richest natural resources in India.”
Calling July 5 “a sad day for the country, ICAN regretted, “The largest democracy in the world could not tolerate a courageous, non-violent voice and ultimately silenced it”, adding, “Many others like father Stan Swamy are still incarcerating in jail in connection with a trumped up Elgar Parishad case.”
It demanded “apology from the state and immediate release of all persons imprisoned for political reasons.”

Comments

TRENDING

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

BSF should take full responsibility for death of 4 kids in West Bengal: Rights defender

By Kirity Roy*  One is deeply disturbed and appalled by the callous trench-digging by BSF in Chetnagachh village under Daspara Gram Panchayat, Chopra, North Dinajpur District, West Bengal that has claimed the lives of four children. Along the entire stretch of Indo-Bangladesh border of West Bengal instead of guarding the actual border delineated by the international border pillars, BSF builds fences and digs trenches well inside the Indian territory, passing through villages and encroaching on private lands, often without due clearance or consent. 

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Don't agree on domestic subsidies, ensure food security at WTO meet: Farmer leaders

Counterview Desk  The Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements (ICCFM), a top network of farmers’ organizations in India, in a letter to Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry, has asked him to “safeguard food security and sovereignty, even as ensuring peasants' rights" at the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO MC 13), to take place from 26 to 29 February 2024 in Abu Dhabi.

Students, lawyers, professors detained in Delhi for demonstrating in support of farmers

By Our Representative  About 25 protestors, belonging to the civil rights network, Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), a coalition of over 40 organisations, were detained at Jantar Mantar for holding a demonstration in support of the farmers' stir on Friday. Those detained included students, lawyers and professors, including Prof Nandita Narain and Prof N Sachin. 

Social justice day amidst 'official neglect' of salt pan workers in Little Rann of Kutch

By Prerana Pamkar*  In India’s struggle for Independence, the Salt Satyagraha stands as a landmark movement and a powerful symbol of nonviolent resistance. Led by Mahatma Gandhi, countless determined citizens walked from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi in Gujarat. However, the Gujarat which witnessed the power of the common Indian during the freedom struggle is now in the throes of another significant movement: this time it is seeking to free salt pan workers from untenable working conditions in the Little Rann of Kutch (LRK).

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".

Interpreting UAPA bail provisions: Is Supreme Court setting the clock back?

By Kavita Srivastava*, Dr V Suresh** The Supreme Court in its ruling on 7th February, 2024 in   `Gurvinder Singh v State of Punjab’ held that its own well-developed jurisprudence that "Bail is the rule and jail the exception" will not apply to those charged under the UAPA.

Jallianwala massacre: Why Indian govt hasn't ever officially sought apology from UK

By Manjari Chatterjee Miller*  The king of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander, apologized in July 2023 for his ancestors’ role in the colonial slave trade. He is not alone in expressing remorse for past wrongs. In 2021, France returned 26 works of art seized by French colonial soldiers in Africa – the largest restitution France has ever made to a former colony. In the same year, Germany officially apologized for its 1904-08 genocide of the Herero and Nama people of Namibia and agreed to fund reconstruction and development projects in Namibia. .

Will Budget 2024 help empower city govts, make them India's growth engines?

By Soumyadip Chattopadhyay, Arjun Kumar* Cities in India are envisioned as engines of growth. Any meaningful long-term vision for India would be incomplete without planning for the cities and quite rightly, urbanization is considered as one of the country’s top developmental challenges. Realization of full potential of cities depends crucially on their ability to provide ‘enabling’ environment especially in terms of sustained provision of a wide range of urban infrastructure and services.