Skip to main content

Put human rights at centre of relations with India: Amnesty to EU on Fr Stan's death

Counterview Desk 

In a strongly-worded statement, eight global human rights organisations led by Amnesty International, even as “standing by” Fr Stan Swamy -- the jailed 84-year-old human rights defender who died Holy Family hospital on June 5 -- have regretted, international community has failed to “move beyond rhetoric in holding human rights standards as benchmarks of engagement” in this case as also that of other undertials for alleged involvement in the Bhima Koregaon violence.
Pointing out that the European Union’s (EU’s) “private diplomatic efforts” on Fr Stan’s “high-profile case, including during the recently-resumed closed-door local human rights dialogue, ostensibly failed”, the statement insists, “This must be a wake-up call for the international community to finally put human rights at the centre of all aspects of their bilateral relationship with India.”

Text:

We are deeply saddened by the death in custody of Fr Stan Swamy, 84 year-old Jesuit priest and human rights defender, on July 5, 2021. Stan Swamy was repeatedly denied bail, and died at the Holy Family Hospital, in Mumbai, India having been placed on ventilator support the previous day due to breathing difficulties and oxygen level fluctuations. The defender spent nine months in jail under the anti-terror law, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), denied bail and medical care in jail, and only transferred to a hospital when his condition became critical on May 29.
Stan Swamy has been a dedicated advocate for the rights of Adivasi people, especially in the State of Jharkhand. He founded the Vistapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan, an all-India platform to secure and protect the land rights of Dalit and Adivasi peoples, and was a prominent advocate against the forced displacement of Adivasi communities, typically occurring in the context of development and the mining of mineral-rich lands.
He spoke out against the systemic discrimination and violence directed at the Adivasi community and he notably documented and advocated against the arrest of Adivasi youth, who are frequently accused of being “Naxalites” or “Maoists.” It is this work, that is his legacy, and also the reason for sustained reprisals against him. He has supported and inspired the most marginal and vulnerable communities to seek redress against violence and discrimination. His persecution and eventual arrest are direct reprisal for his peaceful work.
On October 8, 2020 the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in Ranchi, Jharkhand arrested Stan Swamy for alleged links to the violence that took place in Bhima Koregaon on 01 January 2018. 15 other prominent human rights defenders have been falsely accused and jailed in this case. Months prior to his arrest Stan Swamy was interrogated for nearly 16 hours by the NIA ostensibly linked to the case.
We stand by Stan Swamy and other defenders accused and held under trial in this case, and believe they are being deliberately targeted for their human rights work. On October 9, Stan Swamy was transferred 1,700 kilometres away from his home to Mumbai, Maharashtra, and remanded in the overcrowded Taloja Central Jail.
At the time of his arrest Stan Swamy was already suffering from Parkinson’s disease, significant loss of hearing in both ears, and other serious underlying health issues. Initially jail authorities denied him warm clothes and a sipper cup which he needed due to the effects of Parkinson’s disease.
Bail was effectively out of reach due to the UAPA, and courts declined to intervene despite his age, illness, and the threat of Covid-19. On 22 October 2020, a special NIA court denied his interim bail plea filed on medical grounds. This is despite the pandemic and national moves to reduce congestion in prisons, as well as the Supreme Court of India’s own directives in this regard.
Throughout his time in detention Stan Swamy’s health gradually regressed. In the second week of May 2021 the defender’s lawyers again petitioned the court for his release on the grounds that he was suffering from Covid 19-like symptoms. At a hearing on May 21, 2021 Stan Swamy explained to the judge via video-link that when he arrived at the prison, his bodily systems “were very functional,” but over the seven months he had spent in prison, “there has been a steady, slow regression” of his health. This request for bail was again denied.
Stan Swamy was eventually transferred from Taloja Central Jail to the Holy Family Hospital on May 28, 2021, when his condition had worsened severely. He tested positive for Covid-19 on May 30. Throughout the month of June he remained in a critical condition, and was moved to the Intensive Care Unit. On Sunday July 4 he suffered a cardiac arrest, and was moved to ventilator support. 
In the days prior, he had expressed deep concern and worry regarding the bail hearing scheduled for July 6, 2021. The hearing was brought forward to 2.30 pm on July 5. Stan Swamy died on an hour before his hearing, at 1.24 pm on July 5.
Standing united without compromising EU's founding values alone will secure release of human rights defenders arbitrarily held in India
His death in custody, and the continued incarceration of other defenders is a tragic indictment of India’s human rights record, and of the global community’s human rights commitments. India sits on the United Nations Human Rights Council and the Security Council, which carry specific human rights commitments.
The international community has failed to move beyond rhetoric in holding human rights standards as benchmarks of engagement. The EU’s private diplomatic efforts on his high-profile case, including during the recently-resumed closed-door local human rights dialogue, ostensibly failed.
This must be a wake-up call for the international community to finally put human rights at the centre of all aspects of their bilateral relationship with India. We particularly call on the EU and member states, to implement the numerous commitments undertaken in the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders, the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy, and many others. 
Standing united and without compromises by the EU's founding values will be the only way to secure the release of many other human rights defenders arbitrarily held in India before they meet the same fate as Stan Swamy.
Stan Swamy penned a letter to his friends and colleagues in January 2021 to express his gratitude for the solidarity shown by people, to mark 100 days of him being in custody. “At times, news of such solidarity has given me immense strength and courage, especially when the only thing certain in prison is uncertainty.” 
We continue to stand in solidarity with Stan Swamy and we call for full accountability for his death. His spirit, courage and kindness will not be forgotten and will continue to inspire.
---
*Amnesty International; CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation; CSW; FIDH, in the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders; Front Line Defenders; International Commission of Jurists; International Dalit Solidarity Network

Comments

Pravin Sharan said…
India will be more than happy if human rights becomes an important consideration for international relations then the double standard of many countries will be exposed.
SAMIR SARDANA said…
STAN SWAMY, A PASTOR, 85 YEARS OLD,SUFFERING FROM PARKINSON, DENIED BAIL AND MEDICAL AID ,WAS KILLED BY THE NIA.dindooohindoo

HE WAS PROBABLY POISONED AND DRUGGED ALSO ! THE STATE IS SO PATHETIC THAT THE MAN WAS DENIED A STRAW TO DRINK WATER - SO THAT WITH PARKINSON HE WOULD STRUGGLE TO SIP WATER ! He had to seek daily court sanction for medical treatment ! This is the status of the worthless Indian Police,legal system,Constitution and Judiciary !

HE WAS FIGHTING FOR TRIBAL RIGHTS ! THIS IS THE STATE OF DALIT AND TRIBALS IN INDIA ! IF A PASTOR CAN BE KILLED - THEN WHAT OF THE TRIBALS ?

He was killed by the HINDOO NAZI WING - THE NIA !

Y MAOISM ? dindooohindoo

NIA IS A CRIMINAL ORGANISATION OF SCUM – WHO DESERVE TO BE DESTROYED !

SOME CASES OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AND CORRUPTION BY THE NIA

• Suicide by a 22 year old Dalit Sikh after NIA 10 hour interrogation

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/dalit-youth-suicide-kin-demand-probe-link-death-to-nia-quizzing-6515902/
• An 89 year old missionary classed and jailed as a Terrorist and denied a straw https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-54490554
• A 80 year old poet classed and jailed as a Terrorist and infected with COVID https://newsbox9.com/varavara-rao-gets-bail-in-surjagarh-iron-ore-mine-arson-case/

NIA IS ALSO AN ORGANISATION OF CHORS AND BLACKMAILERS.EXAMPLE OF CORRUPTION BY NIA SP AND 2 OTHERS

https://www.news18.com/news/india/3-nia-officers-accused-of-demanding-rs-2-crore-from-businessman-to-exempt-him-from-hafiz-saeeds-case-transferred-2276915.html https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/3-nia-officers-accused-of-seeking-bribe-in-case-against-hafiz-saeed-removed/story-VEIln0tILHengK5xu3e0LN.html https://www.news18.com/news/india/3-nia-officers-accused-of-demanding-rs-2-crore-from-businessman-to-exempt-him-from-hafiz-saeeds-case-transferred-2276915.html

NIA INDICTS ITS OWN FOR CORRUPTION

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/nia-asks-home-ministry-to-take-action-against-own-sp-2-officials-in-bribery-case-1599834-2019-09-16

CBI CHARGESHEETS NIA SP

https://www.deccanherald.com/national/cbi-books-ex-nia-asp-for-fraudulently-obtaining-cdr-of-mobile-phone-numbers-879174.html

NIA IS ALSO A NIKAMMA ORGANISATION .SOME CASES OF FAILED NIA INVESTIGATIONS

• Kerala Gold Smuggling case

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/nia-failed-to-prove-terror-link-court/article32931347.ece
https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/nothing-to-substantiate-terror-funding-nia-court/article32864036.ece

COURT DIRECTIONS TO NIA TO SUBMIT EVIDENCE

https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2020/jul/30/court-asks-nia-to-present-proof-to-link-terrorism-and-gold-smuggling-2176572.html

COURT GRANTING BAIL TO STUDENTS CHARGED BY NIA

https://scroll.in/latest/972817/kochi-nia-court-grants-bail-to-terror-accused-students-says-they-have-fundamental-right-to-protest

FAILURE OF NIA TO FILE CHARGESHEET WITHIN 180 DAYS IN PULWAMA CASE

https://www.firstpost.com/india/days-after-pulwama-terror-attack-anniversary-accused-gets-bail-after-nia-fails-to-file-chargesheet-in-time-8094521.html
SAMIR SARDANA said…
STAN SWAMY WAS KILLED BY THE NIA !

If there is NIA there will be retribution - whether from ISIS or any others !

COURT STRICTURES ON ACQUITTAL OF UAPA ACCUSED - WHICH PROVES THAT NIA IS SCUM

Jalandhar fast track court acquitted Manjit, seven others in a case registered against them under UAPA at Bhogpur police station in Jalandhar on September 28, 2009

• Court stated “From all this evidence, the prosecution has failed to prove any link of recoveries made from accused or transactions of money with any terrorist act or organisation.Simple statement of DSP Rajinder Singh Sohal that he received secret information is not sufficient to hold the accused having committed or attempted to have committed any such offence”

UAPA case was registered against Kobad Gandhy on January 1, 2010

• The court observed: “In this case, neither any recovery was affected at the instance of accused. Since the prosecution failed to prove that the accused was pertaining to a militant group or he was having any nexus with enemy countries, there is no evidence on record to show the accused was having any link with terrorist activities or militant group. … Supreme Court… has held, that mere membership of a banned organisation cannot incriminate a person..

UAPA and Arms Act on Sept 15, 2013,at Purana Shalla police station in Gurdaspur Gurpreet Singh and 11 others

• The trial court observed: “So many disclosures were recorded to show that he (Gurpreet Singh) had kept concealed and got recovered the ammunition from different parts of the country between November 7 and 9, 2014. It is highly impossible for anyone to move such distances cities in three days. It shows prosecution only wants to implicate him by hook or crook

IT IS EVIDENT THAT THE PURPOSE OF NIA AND THE INDIAN STATE IS TO TERRORISE AND TRAUMATISE THE ACCUSED AND SEND A MESSAGE TO SOCIETY AS TO THE FATE OF THOSE WHO DISSENT – AND TO SEND A SIGNAL TO THE PEOPLE THAT THE NIA AND THE INDIAN STATE CAN VIOLATE THE RIGHTS OF INDIANS AT WILL

IN ADDITION,NIA USES THESE DUBIOUS ENQUIRIES TO “DIG DIRT ON AN ACCUSED” AND THEN USE THE INFORMATION TO COERCE AND BLACKMAIL THE ACCUSED – A TRAIT OF HEATHENS AND MENIALS. dindooohindoo

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.

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".

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.

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

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

Cyrus Mistry, PM Modi’s brother: What do these accidents have in common? Merc!

By Rosamma Thomas*  In September 2022, in an accident at Palghar near Mumbai, Cyrus Mistry, former chairman of the Tata Group, died in a road accident . On December 28, 2022, a road accident in Mysore left one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s brothers injured. What is common in these accidents? The car that crashed into the divider on the road, in both these cases, was manufactured by “prestigious” German manufacturer Mercedes Benz. One former dealer of Mercedes Benz cars in India has been raising issues of the threat to the lives of those riding these cars for many years now. Cama Motors, among the oldest dealers of foreign cars, having started business in pre-independence India, noted over 10 years ago that Mercedes Benz was indulging in corrupt practices . The cars are currently priced between Rs 41 lakh and Rs 2.92 crore in India; few people realize that the pride of owning a Merc comes at considerable risk to life. Cama Motors carefully documented several of the flaws on a websi

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