Human Rights and Tribal Activist Father Stan Swamy Passed Away

Stan Swamy has been working for the constitutional rights of adivasis over water, forest and land for the last three decades.

stan swamy

Human Rights defender and tribal activist Father Stan Swamy, who was imprisoned in the Bhima Koregaon case, passed away today at 1.30 PM. He was 84.

Stan Sway was arrested from his home in Ranchi on 8th October 2020 in Bhima Koregaon case. In all these months, the case has not been put on trial and there was no evidence to link him to Bhima Koregaon case. He has not even part of Elgar parishad programme.

He was suffering from Parkinson’s disease and was struggling to even drink water. The police did not even allow to have a sipper to him despite several pleas from friends and activists. He was admitted to hospital last night and was put on ventilator.

The information about his death was told by Swamy’s counsel to the Bombay High Court, which was hearing his application for bail on medical grounds.

As the bench comprising Justices SS Shinde and NJ Jamadar took up Stan Swamy’s bail application at around 2.30 PM, Senior Advocate Mihir Desai, his counsel, said that the doctor who was treating the jailed Jesuit priest wanted to say something.

“It is with a very heavy heart I have to inform you that Father Stan Swamy has passed away”, Dr. Dsouza of Holy Family hospital Mumbai, where Stan Swamy was admitted for treatment, told the bench.

“On Saturday he went into cardiac arrest at 4.30 am, we couldn’t revive him”, the doctor added. “With all humility at our command, we are sorry to know that he has passed away. We are shocked. We passed orders for his hospital admission on the first day”, the bench observed.

The Court has also directed the State to produce all medical records of Stan Swamy before the court on 13th July when the matter will be heard since Swamy’s lawyer MihirDesai alleged negligence at the hands of the state during Swamy’s stay in Taloja Jail.

Furthermore, it has directed that an inquiry under provisions of Sec 176(1)(A) Cr.P.C may be followed since the death has occurred in judicial custody & the post mortem shall follow all required protocols in such custodial deaths.

Stan Swamy was born in 1937 in Trichy, Tamil Nadu. He became a Jesuit at a young age and in 1957 decided to devote his life to the underprivileged and marginalised. He spent his life working on the rights of Adivasis and Dalit-Bahujans.

Stan Swamy has been working for the constitutional rights of Adivasis over water, forest, and land for the last three decades. He has done incredible research work on displacement, looting of natural resources by corporates, and the condition of prisoners under consideration. He has been vigorously raising his voice against anti-people amendments made in 2016 by the BJP government of Jharkhand in the CNT-SPT Act and the Land Acquisition Act. He also strongly opposed the BJP’s Raghubar Das government’s policy of handing over the land in the land bank to the corporate. He has been pushing for the implementation of the 5th Schedule of the Constitution and the PESA Act.

Swamy has also raised his voice against issues like hunger deaths, problems with the Aadhar card, and communal violence. He was among the founding members of the ‘Anti-Displacement Mass Development Movement’. They have been working for the release of Adivasis who have been jailed and extending solidarity, and bringing attention to Adivasi movements that have been made illegitimate through the label “Maoist”.

Though he states he has never been to Bhima Koregaon, Stan Swamy was arrested from his home in Ranchi on Thursday evening, 8th October 2020, and taken to Mumbai where he was produced before a court the next day.

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