‘Mind Your Own Business’- Forums, namely Campaign to Defend Democracy, All India People’s Forum (AIPF), People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), and Social Activists- Amar Jesani, P. Sainath, Anil Sadagopal, Dunu Roy, Harsh Mander, Kavita Srivatsava, Meera Sanghamitra, Nandini Sundar, Pieter Friedrich and Ram Puniyani Tell Hindutva Groups ( ABVP, VHP and Bajrang Dal) for Issuing Threat to St Aloysius Institutions, that they will not allow St. Aloysius Institutions, an autonomous institution, to name a Park on its Kotekar Beeri campus after deceased activist Father Stan Swamy.
Mangaluru: Recently at a press meet arranged in the City the naming of the park decision taken by St Aloysius Institution to name one of its parks after Jesuit priest and tribal activist Father Stan Swamy had come in for opposition from right-wing forums like Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal . They have even threatened to stage a protest if the Jesuit institution goes ahead with the plan. During the meet, the Chiefs of VHP, Bajrang Dal and ABVP outfits opposed the decision of St Aloysius Institutions management to name the park after Father Swamy, where VHP zonal secretary Sharan Pumpwell had said , “Swamy was arrested under the Unlawful Activities(Prevention) Act and was facing serious allegations like terrorism and naxalism— for his alleged role in the Bhima Koregoan violence. It is an insult to the social system to name a park after him. The move by an old institution like St Aloysius College, which has contributed immensely to the field of education, to name a park after a person like Stan Swamy is akin to it indirectly challenging national unity and such a development is shocking”.
Sharan had also said “And if St Aloysius Institutions management goes ahead with the plan, we will carry out a strong protest, following which the institution will be responsible if there is any untoward incident. We have already conveyed our opposition to the institution management and also have submitted a memorandum to DK Deputy Commissioner Dr K V Rajendra. “We will support and will have no issues that instead of naming the park after Stan Swamy the Institution management can name it after personalities like former Union Ministers Oscar Fernandes or George Fernandes, who have contributed a lot to the country. We would have not raised our opposition in naming the park after Stan Swamy, if all the cases pending in the Court are cleared of all the charges on Stan Swamy” had said yet another saffron forum leader.
Tit-for-tat, in response to the threat by all these Hindutva groups, several organisations and activists have urged the Dakshina Kannada District Administration and the police to take action against Hindutva groups for what they said issuing a threat that they will not allow St. Aloysius College, an autonomous institution, to name a park on its Kotekar Beeri campus (AMIT) after deceased activist Stan Swamy. In an open letter, they said that it is criminal intimidation by the Hindutva groups. The district administration and the police should provide adequate protection to the college to ensure that there is no interference in its private affairs.
The letter which was endorsed by several organisations including Campaign to Defend Democracy, All India People’s Forum (AIPF), People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Amar Jesani, P. Sainath, Anil Sadagopal, Dunu Roy, Harsh Mander, Kavita Srivatsava, Meera Sanghamitra, Nandini Sundar, Pieter Friedrich and Ram Puniyani, further said “We call upon the district administration and the police to take immediate action against these organisations for engaging in criminal intimidation and issuing such threats. The signatories condemn the open threats of violence by groups such as ABVP, VHP and Bajrang Dal against a private autonomous Catholic college in Mangaluru for its decision to name one of its parks after the late Swamy whose death has become symbolic of the systemic oppression of a human rights activist standing with the most marginalised communities,”
“They (the groups) have absolutely no right to interfere in the goings-on of a private institution. These organisations have a stated purpose and history for violence, communal divisiveness and subscribe to an idea of our country with scant regard to the Constitution and the Rule of Law. This blatantly illegal behavior is a consequence of the free run that is being given to these organisations in coastal Karnataka. These organisations are imposing social apartheid, interfering in the private affairs of citizens and acting against the Constitutional principle of fraternity by engaging in daily acts of violence and intimidation with impunity. Members of these organisations have engaged in lynching of minorities across the country, conducting riots and engaging in violence to push minorities into second-class citizenship,” added the letter.
The signatories said that late Father Stan Swamy was a person who was falsely implicated in cases that are pending against him and subjected to the most inhuman treatment leading to his untimely death. He dedicated his entire life to the uplift of the oppressed sections of society and was targeted precisely for this reason.