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The death of imprisoned Jesuits caused a stir in India


The death of an 84-year-old Jesuit prisoner who had given his life to Indian nationals in the jungle has angered human rights activists who say the priest has been brutally tortured by Narendra Modi.

Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia’s director of Human Rights Watch, said the “tragic” events of Stan Swamy’s father’s death on Monday revealed the growing gap between what India claims to be democratically justified and its use of anti-terrorism laws to crack down on dissent.

“This is not a progressive, liberal state that prides itself on seeking money from India or seeking Indian voice on a global issue,” Ganguly said on Tuesday.

“The government enforces strict laws because people cannot get bail. . . He is using the power of the government to punish anyone who thinks he does not agree with it. ”

Swamy, who was arrested nine months ago on suspicion of plotting to assassinate Maoist militants, repeatedly suspended his bail, although he had a severe Parkinson’s disease and could not take a cup of water. He was never judged.

The priest was the leader of a group of prominent human rights lawyers, scholars, and writers Arrested in accordance with anti-terrorism laws in protecting oppressed groups. This included the tribal tribes and the Dalits, who were previously unaffected by the Hindu system.

Colin Gonsalves, a human rights lawyer, said: “Today, self-expression is a crime, self-expression is an attack on the state.” “The government considers the words, even non-violent, to be as dangerous as the AK-47.”

Father Stan Swamy died in prison on Monday

Hailing from a family of southern Indian Catholics, Swamy spent 11 years as director of the Bangalore’s Indianit-run Indian Social Institute, which trains organizers working with people who do not. In 1986, this soft priest moved to northeastern India to help the forest dwellers, or adivasis, one of the country’s poorest people.

For 34 years, Swamy has sought to help ethnic groups strengthen their legal rights, including opposition to political parties seeking to seize affluent rich countries. But as tensions between the tribes and the wealthy nation intensified, human rights activists said the priest viewed him as a troublemaker.

“The interests of the industry are about to take over adivasis, “he said,” says Joseph Xavier, director of the ISI. “He has never encouraged violence. He has encouraged peace. But he wants the government to do justice to the people.”

In 2017, Swamy filed a lawsuit in the public interest, highlighting the seriousness of the alleged Maoist attackers who have suffered for years in prisons without trial.

Swamy was arrested on the night of a shooting at his home on October 8, when the first wave of coronavirus in India was in its infancy. Accused of collaborating with the Maoists, he went to Mumbai and was sent to a prison full of Taloja.

Like all other freedom fighters and political activists arrested while awaiting trial, Swamy was detained under antitrust law.

The law removes the notion of innocence, which lawyers said made it impossible for defendants to get bail.

Many experts believe that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is implementing stricter national security laws, including anti-terrorism laws and insurgency, against human rights activists to prevent Indians from participating. political or openly oppose government policy.

“They treat her very badly and use this as an example to suppress any form of opposition,” said Frazer Mascarenhas, a former Swamy student. “Their goal is to intimidate people into doing the same thing to them.”

Judges have begun to push back. Last month, the Delhi High Court given a bail to student rights activists detained for one year in protest of the new Indian citizenship laws.

“It seems that, in the pursuit of resolving the conflict, in the public opinion, the line between legal rights and violence seems to be blurring,” the judges wrote. “If these ideas were to be enticed, it would be a sad day for democracy.”

Following the release of the bail in May, Swamy described the deterioration of his health in prison, and said he could not eat or bathe without help. He asked for bail to return home and predicted that he would soon “die” in prison. He tested Covid-19 a few weeks later.

“Everyone knew he was too sick to live like this and his health was getting worse,” Gonsalves said. “It simply came to my notice then – I was killing someone for refusing bail. This is how I see it. ”


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