Jharkhand MP writes to President demanding Fr. Stan Swamy’s release

Alleging that the NIA was using under-handed methods to imprison innocent activists, MP Vijay Hansdak demanded the release and closure of the case against Fr. Stan

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Seeking the immediate release of Jesuit priest and tribal rights activist Father Stan Swamy, Jharkhand’s MP Vijay Kumar Hansdak wrote a letter to President Ram Nath Kovind on November 10, 2020.

“Father Stan Swamy’s arrest by the NIA [National Investigation Agency] is malicious and spiteful as he and his associates have been constantly denying any link with Maoists. The allegation against him about his links in the Bhima Koregaon case is also false and fabricated. I, on behalf of people of Jharkhand, would like to appeal to take immediate concrete action to stop the proceedings of all the false allegations against Father Swamy and release him. I also appeal to release all those innocent social activists and intellectuals who have been arrested on false allegations,” Hansdak wrote in his letter.

The Rajmahal representative and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader Hansdak is the first parliamentarian from the state to voice support for Fr. Stan. Hansdak demanded the closure of the case that led to his arrest for alleged involvement in the Bhima Koregaon violence.

“The 83-year-old Fr. Swamy is suffering from multiple ailments … and, for close to five decades, has been working on forest rights of tribal communities. Through his arrest, NIA is yet again sending a message to the rest of the human rights community that they can stoop to any level to silence and crush dissent,” wrote Hansdak.

Unable to hold a glass long enough to have a drink, Fr. Stan had filed an application requesting the officials at the Taloja jail in Navi Mumbai to let him use a straw and a sipper. The hearing for this shall take place on November 28 because the prosecution sought 20 days to respond.

Meanwhile, as per the activist’s medical plea, he nearly lost his hearing ability, fell multiple times inside the jail and has been operated on twice for hernia. Fr. Stan continues to suffer pain in his lower abdomen. A special NIA court denied Fr Swamy’s interim bail petition on health grounds on October 23.

Chief Minister Hemant Soren and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarai Vijayan, senior Opposition leaders, MPs of the Congress, the DMK, the NCP along with human rights activists have condemned the arrest and demanded the priest’s immediate release. Peaceful protests have been held across the country seeking the release of Fr. Stan.


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