After a long wait for bail, 84-years old Stan Swamy took his last breath on Monday and left behind multiple questions for all of us. Some titled it a foretold custodial murder, some called it a miscarriage of justice, while some are raising questions over painting a Maoist as a Martyr.
Jesuit priest and human rights activist Stan Swamy was in custody since October 2020. He was booked under UAPA (anti-terror law) in connection to the Elgar Parishad case. Ignoring his poor health and old age, all his bail pleas were rejected. He was suffering from Parkinson’s disease and also contracted Covid-19 while in custody. He had developed septicaemia too.
#India: We are saddened & disturbed by the death of 84-year-old human rights defender Father #StanSwamy, after prolonged pre-trial detention. With COVID-19, it is even more urgent that States release every person detained without sufficient legal basis.
? https://t.co/WkoxxTiNCb pic.twitter.com/6MUEUcgxMp
— UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) July 6, 2021
.@OnReality_Check | "For what reason was he (Father #StanSwamy) kept behind bars is a question the criminal legal system will have to reckon with": Vrinda Grover, Advocate, Supreme Court pic.twitter.com/HleBtUaTj4
— NDTV (@ndtv) July 5, 2021
You arrest an 84 yr old priest who has devoted his life to tribal welfare.On absurd charges. You deny him even a straw which he needs to drink due to Parkinson's disease. You allow him to get Covid in jail. You deny him bail. Shame on such a heartless State& Judiciary. #StanSwamy pic.twitter.com/mfiE8vnYjS
— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) July 6, 2021
Horrible news to learn that Indian HRD Fr. Stan Swamy is in very serious condition&was put on a ventilator last night.He's spent 9 months in jail on unfounded charges.I’m deeply saddened&expect that every possible specialist treatment will be provided to him
— Mary Lawlor UN Special Rapporteur HRDs (@MaryLawlorhrds) July 4, 2021
Article 21 or UAPA: Which One Is More Significant?
The case has put a question whether the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution is important or UAPA provisions. Because Stan Swamy’s rights were allegedly violated during these 9 months. The person who was seeking speedy trials for undertrial prisoners became one of those undertrial prisoners who are being killed softly.
The major one was not allowing him to get a sipper and straw. He had to move an application to provide a sipper and straw citing his deteriorating health due to Parkinson’s disease. The insensitivity to deal with the application raised many questions on the authorities. Trial court 20 days time to the NIA to file a reply to the application for sipper and straw. He was provided with one after two months.
Series of Events Right From Stan Swamy’s Arrest Till Death
- NIA interrogated him for 15 hours between July 25 and August 7, 2020.
- NIA filed a 10,000-page chargesheet in Bhima Koregaon-Elgar Parishad case named 8 people and Stan Sway was one among them.
- He was arrested on October 8, 2020.
- On October 9, NIA officials accused him of having links with banned terror outfit CPI also of being a convenor of the Persecuted Prisoners Solidarity Committee (PPSC).
- Branding him a ‘Urban Naxal’, NIA also alleged that he has been receiving funds to attack the government.
- NIA special court denied him bail on medical grounds on 23 October 2020.
- He was admitted to JJ Hospital on May 19 and May 24 and was brought back to jail again on the same day.
- He tested Covid-19 positive on May 30
- He had filed 5 bail applications. Among these, two were rejected and three are still pending.
Who is Stan Swamy?
Stanislaus Lourduswamy who is popularly known as Stan Swamy was a human rights activist and poet who is known for his work of over three decades on various issues faced by the Adivasi communities pertaining to land, forest, and labour rights. He has worked for the rights of Adivasis, Dalits, and marginalised communities so that the poor may have a life with dignity and honour.
Human Rights Activist or Terrorist: Other Side Of The Story
While one part of the country’s population is mourning the loss of Stan Swamy, the other half is showing their displeasure that we should regret that Stan Swamy died without facing any punishment for the offences he allegedly did.
— Kreately.in (@KreatelyMedia) July 5, 2021
— The Jaipur Dialogues (@JaipurDialogues) July 6, 2021
He was alleged to be the main conspirator in the Bhima Koregaon-Elgar Parishad violence case. In the chargesheet filed, NIA submitted that all accused have links with banned terrorist organisation Communist Party of India (CPI) and convenor of PPSC, claimed to be a frontal organisation of CPI.
As per NIA, Stan Swamy received Rs 8 lakh funds from CPI to carry out Maoist activities. He was allegedly drawing a blueprint to set up militant units to fight the Indian government by recruiting disgruntled Dalits and Muslims and giving them armed training.
The allegations were made on the basis of unsigned letters in CPI literature which they claim to have seized from the electronic devices of Rona Wilson. However, a forensic report prepared by Massachusetts-based Arsenal Consulting concluded in February 2021 that the evidence against jailed activist Wilson was planted. It was claimed that the attacker used malware to deposit at least 10 incriminating letters in Wilson’s computer before his arrest.
Wow!After 'incriminating evidence' was found planted in Bhima Koregaon accused Rona Wilson's computer,similar fabricated 'evidence' used by police to chargesheet&deny bail, has been found planted in lawyer Gadling's computer!Meanwhile they languish in Jailhttps://t.co/0M5KKCE5Ky
— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) July 6, 2021
Link to our story on how an attacker compromised Rona Wilson's laptop to plant documents that the police cite as evidence https://t.co/FU7PnkEvAh
— Niha Masih (@NihaMasih) July 5, 2021
Replug | Given that the Bhima Koregaon accused Rona Wilson did not delete the files that incriminate him, it would be highly illogical for him to delete only the information that could be used to exonerate him and others accused in the case.https://t.co/jF7y0DrD0r
— The Caravan (@thecaravanindia) July 4, 2021
CPI — Sixth Deadliest Terror Group in the World
Communist Party of India is a Maoist communist political party which is declared as the sixth deadliest terror organisation in the world after Taliban (Afghanistan), IS or the so-called Islamic State, Al-Shabaab (Africa), Boko Haram (Africa), and the Communist Party of the Philippines. Indian government designated CPI as a terror outfit under UAPA in 2009. The organisation aims at overthrowing the government through Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong’s strategy of people’s war.
Under Maoist terrorism, 162 security personnel and 463 civilians were killed between 2018 and 2020. As per the sources, 12,000 people have lost their lives in Maoist violence, including 2,700 security personnel.
Three Chargesheets and 16 Arrests
Jyoti Raghoba Jagtap, Sagar Tatyaram Gorkhe, Ramesh Murlidhar Gaichor, Sudhir Dhawale, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen, Rona Wilson, Arun Ferreira, Sudha Bharadwaj, Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Anand Teltumbde, Gautam Navlakha, Hany Babu and Father Stan Swamy