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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

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