The Martyrdom of Fr. Stan Swamy, SJ (26.04.1937-05.07.2021)

1.

This is a political ideological murder by the regime. The system has not failed, it has worked.

The State is clear on who it targets – in the case of the arrested in Taloja, it is grounded human rights activists, engaged in solidarity with dalits, the oppressed & with political resistance of adivasis against dispossession in central India.

This is the ruling class way of settling scores & setting examples. There are others in their lists, languishing in bulging prisons of the broken Republic.

On the other hand, what example & inspiration will active history create out of Comrade Father Stan, is in the hands of the resistance.

Statement of Fr. Stan Swamy After the NIA Interrogation
I was interrogated by NIA for 15 hours during a span of 5 days (July 27, 28, 29, 30 Aug. 6). Apart from my bio-data and some factual information, several extracts allegedly taken from computer implicating my connection to Maoist forces were placed before me. I told them all these are fabrications stealthily put into my computer and I disowned them.
The nature of the present NIA investigation of me has nothing to do about Bhima Koregaon case in which I have been booked as a ‘Suspected-accused’ and consequently raided twice (28 August 2018 and 12 June 2019). But it had everything to do to somehow establish (i) that I am personally linked to extremist leftist forces, (ii) that through me Bagaicha is also relating to some Maoists. I denied both these allegations in strongest terms.
After six weeks of silence, I am being summoned to appear in NIA- office in Mumbai. I have informed them (i) that I fail to understand the need for interrogating me further given the fact I have been subjected to that for 15 hours already, (ii) that I am not in a position to undertake the long journey given my age (83) and the nature of the epidemic ravaging the country. Besides Jharkhand State Govt. has given a directive that during the lockdown period elderly persons above the age of 60 may not appear in public, (iii) that if the investigating agency wants to interrogate me further it can be done through video-conference.
IF NIA will refuse to consider my request and insist that I go to Mumbai, I’ll tell them that it will not possible for me to go for the above reasons. Hoping human sense will prevail. If not, I / we must be ready to face the consequences.
I would just add that what is happening to me is not unique. Many activists, lawyers, writers, journalists, student leaders, poets, intellectuals and others who stand for the rights of Adivasis, dalits and the marginalised and express their dissent to the ruling powers of the country are being targeted.
Grateful to all who have stood in solidarity with me all these years.
Attached is a note on the questions that I have been raising – What is the ‘crime’ I’m supposed to have committed?
Stan Swamy

2.

That the Judiciary has acted inhumanly is only part of a problem. The Judiciary & Legislature is increasingly under sway of the Executive – which dismantles the very principle of separation of powers that defines liberal Democracy.

UAPA and the NIA are dangerous tools in this regard, wherein central executive decisions hold sway, wherein state of exception is the norm, process is punishment. Of 5,922 individuals arrested under the UAPA between 2016 and 2019, only 132 received convictions, i.e. only 2%. In fact, chargesheets are not filed in 91% of cases. Contrary to commonsense, it appears that only in cases where there is little to no evidence, is such a serious broad draconian law applied, Judiciary tied into non-evidentiary jurisprudence.

There wasn’t a single charge framed against Stan, or any of the BK arrestees, trial hasn’t even started for 3yrs, yet he & all others are denied bail.

UAPA was brought in by the Congress, NIA brought in by Chidambaram, passed unanimously by the Parliament – & amended & being used politically in excess by Modi govt today, with a 72% rise in cases in 2019 compared to 2015. This draconian law must find no place in a democracy — Will the democratic rights movement take up this crucial issue in force? Will the opposition parties pledge & Judiciary act to strike it down?

3

The gentle wise Com. Fr Stan inspires by example – beyond frameworks of legalese or immediate ways of understanding politics.

The only redeeming qualities in religion were to do with compassion, with sharing, ‘heart in a heartless world’. Faith defined itself as standing with our neighbours – suffering & even martyrdom for it. There can be & are philosophical debates around it, but these qualities are in intense crisis today, esp. in a time of political instrumental use of religions, of fascist mass movements, emergency neoliberalisms & Covid.

The best of these qualities are found in souls like Stan. How he put his simple demand of being with his people in Jharkhand even above his own need of hospitalization in the last hearing, confounding even his own lawyer. He was also suffering from Parkinson’s and other geriatric diseases. He saw “humanity bubbling in Taloja Jail”, & wrote about preserving inner freedom in the most adverse of situations “a caged bird can sing”. And when he writes in tune with the best ideas of liberation theology, “…the challenge is to go back to the Jesus of Nazareth, the seditious revolutionary, crucified for standing against the mighty.. and to have an understanding contradictions of increasing polarity between the rich & poor, the powerful vs the vulnerable, the oppressor vs the oppressed. Then clearly take the side of the poor, the vulnerable, the oppressed. And be ready to pay the price in whatever form and shape.”

Image by Bakery Prasad

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Nayanjyoti Written by:

Nayanjyoti is a political activist and researcher associated with the trade union movement based in NCR

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