STEP OUT FOR STAN! Huge Fans of Fr Stan Swamy SJ Gather for Candlelight Vigil….

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STEP OUT FOR STAN! Huge Fans of Fr Stan Swamy SJ Gather for Candlelight Vigil….

  • STEP OUT FOR STAN! Huge fans of Fr Stan Swamy SJ gathered for Candlelight Vigil for the Departed Soul of Fr Stan Swamy, a Jesuit Priest who fought for Tribal Rights in Jharkhand at 6 pm near Hampankatta Junction/Signal Lights/Clock Tower, Mangaluru, organized by Citizens Forum For Mangaluru Development, under the leadership of Ms Vidya Dinker, a Social Activist.

Mangaluru: On Monday, 5 July 2021 Fr Stan Swamy, who is known for his work for the underprivileged and downtrodden, died in  Mumbai hospital. Father Stan Swamy made Jharkhand home, fought for the voiceless. He fought for Tribal Rights, and for that, he was arrested by a team of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) from his residence in Ranchi-Jharkhand in connection with the probe into the 2018 violence in Maharashtra’s Koregaon-Bhima village, and also for other Human Rights Activists who are being harassed and tortured for their role in seeking justice for Dalits, Adivasis, Minorities, unorganized labourers, Fisherfolk, distress migrants, Dalit Christians, among others. Fr Stan was unnecessarily arrested by the NIA, alleging that he was involved in the Koregaon-Bhima Village case. But Fr Stan denied such allegations made on him regarding the Koregaon-Bhima Village case because according to him, he has never been to that village. So, why did NIA officials arrest an 83-year-old Jesuit priest who was doing yeomen service fighting for the rights of Tribal/Adivasis in Jharkhand?

Fr Stanislaus Swamy, 84, was brought to the Holy Family Hospital, Mumbai few days back, after facing inhuman treatment while in jail together with others arrested in the so called Bhima Koregaon conspiracy to murder political leaders. Stan Swamy and the others denied the charges, as human rights movements accusing the state of using the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act to crush dissent and the rights of India’s Dalits and Tribal communities. His was a death foretold. It was clear that the State had, in cold blood, decided to wreak on him and others the full might of its vengeance for daring to speak for the poor and the deprived. Fr Stan, the legendary worker for the rights of tribal and the indigenous people in India and elsewhere in the world, lived in Ranchi, Jharkhand. He was in his small room when he was arrested, his computer and other belongings seized and put into jail. He told his interrogators of the police and the National Investigations Agency then and later that he was totally innocent of charges put on him.

In jail, with his health failing with advanced stages of Parkinson’s disease, he was denied basic human dignity and facilities including a simple water sipper as he could no longer hold a cup in his trembling hands. A man who could hardly move, he was systematically denied bail by various courts. Ironically, his last bail application came up for hearing in the afternoon of 5 July when the Director of the Holy Family Hospital gave a simple statement that Fr Stan had passed away. The inhuman treatment meted out to a frail and sickly citizen of India, by the Government and particularly the NIA, speaks volumes of how this regime brooks no dissent and will not tolerate any voice of dissent that stands for truth and justice particularly on behalf of the subalterns of society. This illegal and unconstitutional detention has been vociferously condemned by all sections of society.

One of Fr. Stan Swamy’s last messages from jail was “What is happening to me is not something unique, happening to me alone. It is a broader process that is taking place all over the country. We are all aware of how prominent intellectuals, lawyers, writers, poets, activists, student leaders – Are all put in jail just because they have expressed their dissent. I am ready to pay the price whatever may it be.”But even from jail, Fr Stan would not allow his spirit to be arrested by his inhumane treatment and a vengeful state. Even in Jail, the free bird sings, he told Jesuit colleagues. In life and in his martyrdom, Fr Stan Swamy became a beacon for all who struggle for human rights, especially the rights of the Tribals and other marginalized people, and a role model for young men and women across the nation.

Fr Stan Swamy lived a life of service to the poor and oppressed. He paid for his commitment. Fr Stan Swamy would have preferred to die amongst his adopted children, the Adivasis of Jharkhand. But the government and the NIA thought otherwise. Fr Stan Swamy died Monday afternoon in the Holy Family Hospital in Bandra, Mumbai. A thorn in the Modi government’s unknown plan for development in the forests of Jharkhand has been removed. Those who wanted him out of the way will be happy — though crocodile tears may be shed. It is a mystery that can be solved only if the government wishes to establish the truth. At the moment, its minions are sticking to their guns. Their experts, they say, have given their opinion and they will not consider contrary views of extra-territorial experts who they do not recognize.

Fr Stan explained the law to the tribals and actively advocated their cause. An alert and empowered community is an enigma that the government, any government, would be keen to remove from its path. The means to this end, diabolical and patently criminal, appears to have been employed. Stan Swamy, the 84-year-old Catholic Jesuit priest was a man who laid down his life for his friends. No greater love can a man have than that. The Jesuit order enforces its law on obedience very strictly. The Catholic Church frowns on Communism; Maoist philosophy is anathema to it. It was impossible for Fr. Stan, for any Jesuit for that matter, to defy that injunction, that too for many years.

Fr. Stan Swamy, lived a life of service to the poor and the oppressed. And he paid for his commitment. A Tamilian, he opted for the Jesuit province of Jharkhand over his own Tamil Nadu. He would have preferred to die amongst his adopted children, the Adivasis of Jharkhand. But the Modi government and the NIA thought otherwise. Stan Swamy’s only consolation was that in Bandra’s Holy Family Hospital, he was among those who loved him and cared about him. It was indeed a kind gesture of Ms. Viday Dinker- a Social Activist belonging to St Aloysius College

The human treatment meted out to a frail and sickly citizen of India, by the Government and particularly the NIA, speaks volumes of how this regime brooks no dissent and will not tolerate any voice of dissent that stands for truth and justice particularly on behalf of the subalterns of society. This illegal and unconstitutional detention has been vociferously condemned by all sections of society. Fr Stan did suffer a lot when he was jailed and was not treated well. After the Court permitted Fr Stan to be admitted to a Mumbai hospital, where he was recovering, but all of a sudden his condition worsened, and was put on a ventilator in ICU, but he breathed his last on Monday, 5 July 2021.

Yes, Fr Stan dedicated his life working for tribal rights. Originally from Trichy in Tamil Nadu, Swamy made Jharkhand his home, fighting the battles for the voiceless. The 84-year-old Jesuit priest was kept in jail for more than eight months and denied bail sought on medical grounds. The Union Govt should be answerable for absolute apathy and non-provision of timely medical services, leading to his death. Fr Stan lives in our struggles and memories. His death is the result of murder by the state. Let’s hold the NIA and the central government wholly responsible and strongly condemn their role in Stan’s death. May His Soul Rest In Peace!

In the Candlelight Vigil, this evening (Tuesday 6 July) Fr Dionysius Vaz- Provincial of Karnataka State Jesuit Congregation, Fr Melwin Pinto SJ – Rector-St Aloysius Institutions, Fr Praveen Martis SJ- Principal of St Aloysius College; Ms. Vidya Dinkar- an active member of Citizens Forum for Mangaluru Development, Dr. Alwyn D’sa-Registrar of SAC, Fr Cyril D’mello SJ – Secretary of MJES; among others took part in the Candlelight vigil. Dear Fr Stan, We say “Goodbye “to your pilgrimage on Earth! You are without a doubt a martyr for the sake of JUSTICE and PEACE. You lived your life fully in the committed selfless service of the least of our Sisters and Brothers. Your departure will not go in vain! There will be many more Stans who will now RISE UP. YOU WILL NEVER DIE! YOU WILL LIVE FOREVER”

Fr Melwin Pinto SJ, the Rector of St Aloysius Institutions said, “It is appalling that a senior citizen, that too a priest who dedicated his life for the cause of the poor and the downtrodden should be killed by a ‘Democratic’ State and an ’independent judiciary. It’s a mockery of democracy that such draconian laws are allowed to exist which have become a tool in the hands of powers to eliminate people with opinions contrary to the ideology of the parties in power. A simple man who spent his life fighting for social justice and communal harmony, earning and owning nothing was accused of being a terrorist and anti-national.. I have known Stan personally and have witnessed his passionate love for the poor. What irony that a non-violent man had to be dubbed as a terrorist. This indeed is state terrorism”.

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1 Comment

  1. This article highlights Fr Stan as the humane man, the compassionate priest and the daring activist! Very well written!

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