Kolkata: Dalit Shosan Mukti Mancha and its affiliate Paschimbanga Samajik Nyay Mancha have condemned the custodial death of 84-year-old Jeusuit priest and activist Fr Stan Swamy.
During a remembrance meeting organised in Kolkata, DSMM General Secretary DR Ramchandra Dome spoke about Swamy’s contribution to the fight for tribal rights and his lifelong dedication to the cause. A dharna was also organised by the Paschimbanga Samajik Nyay Mach (PSNM) on Saturday.
Dome, at the remembrance meeting, demanded release of all the 15 remaining accused in the Bhima Koregaon case who remain lodged in a jail. He emphasised the need to unite and fight against the misuse of the UAPA Act to keep dissenters imprisoned. He said, “Today, the Constitution of the country is under attack and so are the values of the constitution which give the rights over water resources, forests and land to the tribals. Tribals are now being ousted from the forest lands. The Planning Commission has been abolished which used to play an important role in ensuring rights of the people on the margins. It is high time that we raise our voices against all these developments.”
Prof Alakesh Das, secretary, PSNM, called Swamy’s death a “political killing”. “Fr Swamy’s blood is now on RSS’s, NIA’s, judiciary’s and press’s hands,” added Das.
PSNM, on this occasion, also resolved to protest against the “casteisation of the MNREGA wages”.
An open letter addressed to Home Minister Amit Shah was released by PSNM, which reads:
The Home Minister
Government Of India
New Delhi 110001
We have formed an organisation which works for the development of the socially and economically backward communities. The name of that platform from where we get the courage to accuse the 'home minister' of the country is -Paschimbanga Samajik Nyay Mancha.
At present the whole country is mourning the demise of 84 years old Father Stan Swamy. Most of them haven't seen him in person, but they are very much acquainted with his work - A man who tirelessly fought for the downtrodden and for their rights. The irony of fate is that he was killed by the system for bearing such views, performing such work and for passionately standing against exploitation and demanding justice for the poor.
Mr. Home Minister, can you answer explicitly why Father Stan Swamy was arrested? He was charged with the allegations that he delivered provocative speeches which spread further violence in the Bhima koregaon incident. But neither he was named in FIR nor he was present in the spot.As seditious charges were framed, the notorious UAPA was applied against him. ' If he is freed he will again make an attempt to kill Prime minister Narendra Modi' -was the version of the pleaders of the Government in NIA court standing against the bail plea of ill 'Father Stan Swamy'. Father Stan Swamy was 84 years old. He was severely ill for the last 8 months. He could not hear in either of his ears. He underwent a hernia operation. He was suffering from lumbar spondylosis. He was suffering from Parkinson's disease as well. He also possessed all the ailments associated with his old age. How can such a person mastermind the seditious activities? People all over the world except you and your followers believe that he is the victim of a heinous conspiracy framed by your Government.
The Jesuit priest intensively stood by the tribal people of Jharkhand for the last thirty years. He was a strong critic of non implementation of the fifth schedule of the constitution. He demanded for the setting up of a Tribal Advisory Council where the members will only be the tribals for their protection, well being and development. In order to suppress the tribal movement against the pro-corporate policy of the central government affecting tribal rights of water-forest-land, the government arrested many tribal inhabitants marking them as 'Naxals'. Father Swamy filed a public interest petition in the high court demanding the immediate release of them in personal bond . He also opted for the judicial commission to prevent such activities based on conspiracy. This was the actual reason to keep ailing grandfatherly figure behind bars for so long
We want to question you why he was taken into custody by the NIA. We also want to know from you why he was charged under UAPA? We do not want to hear that nonsense fabricated example of finding something with Maoist links from his computer by the NIA. You are to refute the accusation of blame that have been raised against you describing the death of Stan Swamy as 'Institutional murder'. The passionate crusader of social justice who dedicated his life for a noble cause received inhuman attitude from your government instead of compassionate treatment. Even when he was covid stricken, investigating agency refused to provide him proper care.NIA court negated his bail plea. The NIA Court was blind, unfeeling and insensitive . Tyranny unleashed on him by a hate-filled power machinery whose intention was to break him into submission.
Physicians informed the court that his death was due to the complications of pulmonary system and Parkinson's disease. His body also developed septicemia. Irrespective of whatever the physicians tell, we the general people of India mark the death as 'political assassination'. Blood of Stan is in the hand of RSS, blood is in the hand of NIA, blood is in the hand of judiciary, in the hand of media. By arrest, by blaming as ' urban Naxalites' or showing them as anti national your Government is trying to squeeze or mute the dissident voice of people. You and your RSS ideology probably are having the recent thought that at least a voice of protest reduced with the passing of Stan Swamy. What a fool you are! Protests and protestors are assembling. You can design thousands of incidents of attacks on socially backwards like the Bhima-Koregaon case and name them as 'violent' but even after that protests will continue. Your rules of suppression, hammer of autocracy is not enough to prevent them. Be alert. _Release the remaining 15 whom you unnecessarily took in your custody citing the baseless Bhima-Koregaon violence as the cause._ All of them are famous in their respective fields. Your application of 'Manuwad' is ruining the life of most downtrodden scheduled caste and scheduled tribe people. We will not allow it further. Institutional preplanned murder of Father Stan Swamy have directed us to move forward, to fight. Beware of your future.
Former Member of Parliament
Paschimbanga Samajik Nyay Mancha.