Why Christian Priest Stan Swamy Was Booked Under UAPA

Why Christian Priest Stan Swamy Was Booked Under UAPASource: @MNageswarRaoIPS/Twitter

Stanislaus Lourduswamy, popularly known as Stan Swamy, a Roman Catholic priest, a member of the Jesuit order, died yesterday at the age of 84.

In 2020, Swamy was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for alleged links to Maoist forces in the Bhima Koregaon violence case, and booked under UAPA.

Just two years before that, in 2018, Swamy had been booked under sedition charges by the Jharkhand government for role in the Pathalgadi movement in Khunti.

The Christian priest had been in Taloja prison in Navi Mumbai for more than eight months, and was being treated at the private Holy Family Hospital in Mumbai following a court order on 28 May. He had also tested positive for the coronavirus at a private hospital last month and was subsequently shifted to the ICU. He had told the court in his bail application that he had many health problems including Parkinson's. The NIA had opposed his bail request.

Originally from Trichy in Tamil Nadu, 20-year-old Stan joined the Jesuit order and started religious studies in 1957. In 1965, he began his regency and spent this time at St Xavier’s High School Lupungutu, Chaibasa, West Singhbhum. He then went to Manila in the Philippines in 1967 to study theology. After being back to India, he served the Church in various capacities.

Swamy moved to Jharkhand and founded Bagaicha – a Jesuit "social research and training" centre – 15 years ago, on the land that Church gave him.

Bhima Koregaon Case

The Koregaon-Bhima or Elgar Parishad case relates to an event on 31 December 2017 near Pune where left-wing activists made inflammatory speeches and provocative statements that led to violence and arson the next day, leaving one person dead.

According to the NIA, senior leaders of the banned violent group CPI (Maoist) were in contact with the organisers of the event as well as the arrested activists, and aimed to spread Maoist and Naxal ideology and encourage unlawful activities.

NIA said that its investigations revealed that, an active member, Swamy was the convenor of PPSC, frontal organisations of CPI (Maoist), and received funds through an associate for terror activities.

“During the searches the documents related to communications for furthering the activities of CPI (Maoist) and propaganda material of the CPI (Maoist) and literature were seized from his possession,” an NIA official had said.

He added that Swamy was also found to be in contact with some of the conspirators namely Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Hany Babu, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Varavara Rao, Sudha Bharadwaj, Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde etc. for the furtherance of Maoist activities.

Condolences Pour In

Widely dubbed as a human rights and a tribal rights activist, Stan's death led to outpouring of condolences from the opposition parties and left-wing intellectuals accusing the government of hounding the elderly activist.

Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, and Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra mourned the death of Stan Swamy.

"Who in the apparatus of the Indian state will be held responsible for this tragedy? Make no mistake - it is the Indian state that killed Fr. Stan Swamy, who was such a passionate crusader for social justice," said Jairam Ramesh.

Communist leader Sitaram Yechury, Lawyer Prashant Bhushan, Actress Richa Chadha, vocalist TM Krishna etc. also condoled Stan Swamy's death.

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