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

Whither Govt of India strategy to reduce import dependence on crude oil, natural gas?

By NS Venkataraman*  India presently imports around 80% of it’s crude oil requirement and around 50% of its natural gas requirements . As the domestic production of crude oil and natural gas are virtually stagnant and the domestic demand is increasing at around 7% per annum, India’s steadily increasing dependence on import of the vital energy source is a matter of high energy security concern. This is particularly so, since the price of crude oil and natural gas are considerably fluctuating / increasing in the global market due to geo political factors, which are beyond the control of India. India has promised to achieve zero emission by the year 2070, which mean that the level of emission has to start declining at slow and steady rate from now onwards. It is now well recognized that global emission is caused largely due to use of coal as fuel and natural gas as fuel and feedstock. While burning of coal as fuel cause emission of global warming carbon dioxide gas and sulphur

Muslim intellectuals met Bhagwat, extra-constitutional authority 'like Sanjay Gandhi'

By Shamsul Islam*  In a significant development a delegation of five Muslim intellectuals namely former chief election commissioner SY Quraishi; former senior bureaucrat Najeeb Jung; former AMU vice-chancellor and Lt Gen (retd) Zameer U Shah; politician-cum-journalist Shahid Siddiqui (presently with RLD); and businessman Saeed Shervani [Samajvadi Party] met RSS Supremo Mohan Bhagwat at RSS Delhi headquarters. The meeting was kept secret for reasons known to the participants and was held in August. According to the Muslim intellectuals the meeting held in “a very cordial” atmosphere continued for 75 minutes whereas time allotted was 30 minutes! In a post-meeting justification of the parleys Quraishi stated that their main concern was “the insecurity being increasingly felt by the Muslim community in the wake of recurring incidents of lynching of innocents, calls by Hindutva hotheads for genocide and the marginalisation of the community in almost every sphere”. This delegation consistin

'Massive concern for people': Modi seeking to turn India into global manufacturing hub

By Shankar Sharma*  The news item quoting Narendra Modi at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meet, "Want to turn India into a manufacturing hub: PM Modi at SCO Summit" should be of massive concern to our people. One can only continue to be shocked by such policies, which can be termed as ill-conceived to say the least. Without objectively considering the environmental and social impacts on our communities in the medium to long term, such policies will also result in massive economic impacts because a lack of environmental and social perspective cannot be economically attractive either. In order to become the global manufacturing hub, India will have to meet an enormous demand for energy of various kinds, and in order to meet this much energy demand the economy has to manufacture enormous number of appliances/ gadgets/ machineries (to generate and distribute commercial forms of energy such as coal, nuclear, gas, hydro, and renewable energy (RE) sources such as so

Denying dissent democratic space in Gujarat: 'sad narrative of eroding ethical values'

By Sandeep Pandey*  A padyatra (foot march) was to be taken out between 26 September and 4 October, 2022 from Randhikpur village in Dahod district of Gujarat to Ahmedabad to apologise to Bilkis Bano. Randhikpur is Bilkis Bano’s village. In 2002 Gujarat communal violence she was gang raped, her 3 years old daughter, another child in womb and a total of 14 family members were killed. 11 people were convicted and sentenced for life in 2008. However, on 15 August, 2022 after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a speech from Red Fort appealing to people to change their attitude towards women and treat them with respect, a district level committee of Panchmahal decided to release the 11 rapists and murderers. A Bhartiya Janata Party leader described four of these criminals as virtuous Brahmins. Before the padyatra could begin from Randhikpur, on 25 September night, 7 activists were picked up from Godhra corporator Hanif Kalandar’s house where they had gone for d

Pesticide companies' lobbying 'seriously impairing' basics of governance, regulation

Dr Narasimha Reddy Donthi*  The Indian agricultural sector is grappling with low incomes, shortage of natural resources, increasing pest incidence and low public investments in research and extension. Pest attacks are increasing. Previously unknown pests are attacking crops. Farmers, indebted as they are due to various market mechanisms, are finding it hard to protect their crop investments. Thus, farmers are pushed into the conundrum of pesticide usage by pesticide markets and companies. Pesticide usage in India is increasingly becoming a regulatory problem. Regulation has not been effective in the face of such challenges. Scientific expertise on pesticides is often subsumed in the policy tradeoffs that, in the ultimate scenario, encourage production and marketing of Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs). Expert Committee reports, which are recommending withdrawal of certain HHPs, are not being acted upon. Lobbying by pesticide companies has seriously impaired the basics of governance an

Kerala health bill public hearing? Here the minister 'ensured' cameras were turned off

By Our Representative  On Friday, September 30, 2022, about 100 members of the general public gathered at the conference room of the collectorate at Ernakulam, Kerala, to express their apprehensions about the Kerala Public Health Bill, 2021, which the state assembly referred to a 15-member select committee chaired by state health and family welfare minister, Veena George. Minister Veena George asserted at the outset that this was a sitting of the select committee, and all cameras would need to be turned off. Advocate PA Pouran, general secretary of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties in Kerala, stood up in protest, arguing that the meeting was a public hearing and should ideally be televised to reach vast numbers of people. Other members of the audience protested too, but the minister insisted that the gathering was part of a sitting of the select committee.  “Why then did you invite all of us?” protested George Mathew, who had arrived from Aluva and earlier served as a member of t

How Gandhian values have become 'casualty' in India under majoritarian BJP rule

By Sandeep Pandey*  A Muslim youth was beaten recently when he tried to witness the famous garba performance during the Hindu religious nine days festival of Navratri in Gujarat. There was a time when Muslims could easily participate in Garbha events in an atmosphere of cordiality. Bilkis Bano was gang raped in 2002 Gujarat communal violence, her 3 years old daughter, the child in womb and a total of 14 family members were killed. 11 accused were awarded life term. However, recently a District level committee has decided to release all the culprits. A ruling Bhartiya Janata Party leader has described some of these criminals as virtuous Brahmins, the highest among the Hindu hierarchical caste system. In a communally polarized Gujarat today most Muslims feel offended by the decision of the government and BJP supporters either justify the release of rapists and murderers or just ignore the ignominious decision. Mahatma Gandhi came from the Guj

GoI 'feeling threatened' by forces which can potentially fight 'Brahmanical fascism'

Counterview Desk  A network of civil rights and people’s organisations , Campaign Against State Repression (CASR)*, has characterised the recently-imposed ban on Popular Front of India (PFI), National Confederation of Human Rights Organizations (NCHRO) and other organisations as “Brahmanical Hindutva fascist” move of the Government of India (GoI), calling it “onslaught on democratic dissent”. In a statement, CASR said, the move is aimed at terrorizing and vilifying the Muslim community, adding, at the same time, the GoI is curbing any protest and demonstration against the “fascist diktat of ban”, with peoplebeing “detained and arrested.” It added, “This kind of attack on right to oppose or criticize any step of government should be conceived as an attack on the very democratic values of the people.” Text : On 28 September 2022, Central Government led by BJP-RSS banned the Popular Front of India, National Confederation of Human Rights Organizations, Campus Front of India, National Wom

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".

Golwalkar's views on tricolour, martyrs, minorities, caste as per RSS archives

By Shamsul Islam*  First time in the history of independent India, the in-charge minister of the Cultural Ministry in the current Modi government, Prahlad Singh Patel, has glorified MS Golwalkar, second supremo of the RSS and the most prominent ideologue of the RSS till date, on his birth anniversary, February 19. In a tweet he wrote : “Remembering a great thinker, scholar, and remarkable leader #MSGolwalkar on his birth anniversary. His thoughts will remain a source of inspiration & continue to guide generations.”