India’s anger at the death of imprisoned activists


Social activists and members of civil society organizations protest the arrest of Stanswamy by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

Social activist Stan Swami was accused of caste-based violence in 2018

Thousands of activists, political leaders and Indian citizens use social media to pay tribute to the imprisoned tribal rights activist Stanswamy, who died at the age of 84.

Many also expressed anger at how he was imprisoned during Covid-19 and repeatedly refused bail.

The government said Swami’s arrest followed “due process under the law.”

The Jesuit priest, who was suffering from Parkinson’s disease, was the oldest accused of terrorism in India.

Swami was transferred to a private hospital in May after signing Covid in prison. He died of cardiac arrest in a city in western Mumbai on Monday.

Historian Rama Chandra Guha described his death as ” Judicial murder“.

“He deserves justice and humanity,” tweeted Rahul Gandhi, the leader of the main opposition parliamentary party.

UN Special Rapporteur Mary Laura said she was devastated when she heard of Swami’s death and “HRD imprisonment.” [Human rights defenders] Unforgivable “:

The Indian federal government responded to criticism by saying that Swami’s bail was denied because of “the particular nature of the accusation against him.”

“Indian authorities act against violations of the law, not against legal exercise. All such actions are in strict compliance with the law,” he said. Said in a statement on Tuesday.

Father Stan Swamy was one of 16 well-known activists, scholars, and lawyers charged under strict anti-terrorism laws in what became known as the Bhima Koregaon case.

Arrested in October 2020, he was awaiting trial in a Mumbai prison for eight months. During this time, his health deteriorated rapidly, making him unable to eat or bath alone.

Prison authorities Deny access to basic equipment such as straws and shippers -Plastic drinking beaker with spout or straw-He had to drink water because of the hand tremor caused by Parkinson’s disease.

At the last bail hearing in May, Swami predicted his death. “If this continues, I’d rather suffer and probably die here soon,” he told the judge.

The Catholic priest holds a placard with a statue of Father Stan Swamy, a Jesuit priest, while protesting his arrest in Jharkhand, eastern India.

Stan Swamy’s arrest caused widespread anger in India

On Tuesday, the Indian newspaper said Swami’s death “The best of India’s judicial system has declined.”

In an editorial, the newspaper said, “In about nine months after imprisonment, sick activists appeared many times in opposition to the state’s heavy hands, unresponsive judiciary, and broken prison system until he died. “.

Hemant Soren, the prime minister of eastern Jharkhand, where Swami lived and worked, said the federal government was “responsible for absolute indifference and lack of timely medical services, leading to his death.”

The accusation against Swami was related to caste violence at a rally in the village of Bima Koregaon in Maharashtra in 2018.

India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA), which investigates terrorist crimes, has accused Swami and others of having something to do with the Mao Sawa East rebels.

Swami denied the charges, saying he had been the target of his work related to the caste and land struggle of Jharkhand tribesmen.

Supreme Court lawyer Vrinda Grover said Swami’s death was “Designed to happen“.

Jean Dr├Ęze, a Belgian-born Indian development economist who has known Father Swami for over a decade, said: “.

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