Tribal rights activist Stan Swamy dies awaiting bail

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He added that early on Saturday, the 84-year-old activist — hailing from Trichy in Tamil Nadu — had suffered a cardiac arrest and could not be revived…reports Asian Lite News.

Ailing octogenarian tribal rights activist Fr. Stan Lourduswamy — an arrested-accused in the sensitive Bhima-Koregoan case and awaiting bail on medical grounds — passed away here on Monday afternoon, officials said.

Swamy’s Senior Advocate Mihir Desai brought to the notice of the Bombay High Court judges Justice S. S. Shinde and Justice N. J. Jamdar of the development when his bail plea came up for hearing this afternoon.

“Its with a very heavy heart I have to inform you that Fr. Stan Swamy has passed away,” said Dr. Stanislaus D’Souza, the doctor treating him at a private hospital informed the court.

He added that early on Saturday, the 84-year-old activist — hailing from Trichy in Tamil Nadu — had suffered a cardiac arrest and could not be revived.

Shortly afterwards, the Jesuit Provincial of India said in a statement this afternoon: “With a deep sense of pain, anguish and hope, we have surrendered Fr. Stan Swamy, 84, to his eternal abode.”

Stan Swamy(IANS)

It said that ‘the author of life’, Fr. Swamy, whose mission was to work among the Adivasis, Dalits, and other marginalized communities so that the poor may have life and live to the full, with dignity and honour.

“On behalf of the Jesuits of India, especially the Jesuits of Jamshedpur Jesuit Province, I express my deepest condolence to the family members, friends, lawyers, well-wishers, and all those who stood by Fr. Stan and prayed for him during this moment of trial and suffering,” said the statement.

Fr. Swamy was arrested in October 2020 by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with his alleged role in the January 1, 2018 Koregaon-Bhima caste violence in Pune, and related issues which rocked the state and national politics.

Opposition parties and other leaders called out the “inhuman treatment” meted out to the activist after being arrested on charges of an anti-terror law. The octogenarian had been on ventilator support since Sunday, when his health conditions worsened and was being treated at the Holy Family Hospital in Mumbai following the court order of May 28.

Rights activist Shabnam Hashmi called Stan Swamy’s death “custodial murder” and said that the government has to be held accountable. “#StanSwamy passes away. Fr. Stan Swamy passes away as undertrial in state custody under fake charges under UAPA, NIA, sedition. This is not death, this is custodial murder. Government has to be held accountable,” she tweeted.

RTI activist and anti-graft crusader Anjali Bhardwaj also expressed the anguish in the same vein and called it an “institutional murder”. “With UAPA, the process is the punishment. The death of 84-year-old Father Stan Swamy should be recognised for what it is – institutional murder. RIP Father Stan,” Bhardwaj posted on Twitter.

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Shashi Tharoor and Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren also tweeted about Stan Swamy’s death and demanded justice for the inhuman treatment against him. DMK lawmaker Dayanidhi Maran also said that they will be raising the issue in Parliament. “This is a sad state of Indian politics. We are going to raise this issue in Parliament to voice out that you cannot squeeze or mute the dissident voices of people. This is a democracy,” ANI quoted the MP as saying.

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