Battling heavy rain and wind, sympathisers of belated Father Stan Swamy formed a human-chain in Ranchi city to decry the Jharkhand activist’s institutional murder, draconian laws like UAPA, sedition, attacks on right to dissent.
On July 23, 2021, several activists, intellectuals, students, tribal organisations came together at Albert Ekka chowk with placards condemning the death of Father Stan. The protest was part of a national campaign against UAPA. In Ranchi, the over-100 organisation representatives signed a letter demanding:
- Justice for Stan Swamy
- Repeal of UAPA, sedition act and other draconian laws
- Release all political prisoners
- Restore Right to Bail
- Accountability for filing false cases and Compensation to victims
- Jharkhand government should immediately withdraw all pathalgadi cases against Stan Swamy and all others
- Jharkhand government should stop usage of UAPA and sedition act and end police repression.
Members of Adivasi Women’s Network, Jharkhand Janadhikar Manch, Shahid Father Stan Swamy Nyay Manch, All India Janadhikar Committee and others signed the letter to be submitted on Saturday. Similarly, experts like Jean Dreze also signed the document.
During the one-hour protest, attendees remembered and hailed Father Stan for his works towards the upliftment and protection of the state’s tribal community. A diverse group of around 100 people paid their respects to Father Stan.
“Stan Swamy was an innocent man, who dedicated his life to tribal life, land and water. The way the government took him away and put him in prison, is condemnable. He suffered and his death is an institutional murder by the NIA and others. We are resolved to give him justice,” organiser Arvind Avinash said to Sabrang India.
Avinash also pointed out that many people like Father Stan are still suffering and imprisoned in jail. Especially in Jharkhand, thousands of adivasis have been arrested following police claims of removing ‘Naxalites’ from the area. Last year, a tribal community in Chiriyabeda village of Chaibasa said they were brutally assaulted by CRPF personnel.
“Nowhere in the police manual is it said that people should be subjected to such oppressive behaviour without warrant or reason,” said Avinash.
Friday was the first of a series of protests planned until August 28. The next protest is planned for August 9, the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People. Attendees will especially focus on the issue of Land Banks in the state.
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