Published: 12th October 2020
Silent protest to be conducted at Loyola College demanding release of Fr Stan Swamy
Father Stan Swamy was arrested on October 8 in Ranchi and taken to Mumbai the next day and has been sent to judicial custody until October 23
Demanding immediate release of Father Stan Swamy SJ, who was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon incident, a silent protest will be held on Monday in front of the Loyola College campus in Chennai. Faculty members from the institute, Jesuit priests on campus, other friends and well-wishers will be present during the event set to be held between 4 and 5 pm on October 12.
Dr KS Antonysamy, an administrative representative from Loyola College told us that they are expecting around 200 people at the event seeking the immediate release of Father Stan Swamy SJ.
Father John Kumar, who is the spokesperson for the protest said, "He suffers from Parkinson's disease and cannot eat by himself. Someone has to help him out with moving around, drinking, eating at all times. In this condition, how can they keep him in jail? He is also 83-years-old and there is a pandemic raging on. We are demanding his immediate release through this silent, peaceful demonstration because he has been falsely implicated in this case. This seems to us like a pressure by the government on human rights defenders wherein they cannot stand up for marginalised communities, raise their voice or concern, no advocacy for the poor. That's the message we get when human rights activists are arrested across the country."
Father Stan was arrested on October 8 in Ranchi and then taken to Mumbai the next day and has been sent to judicial custody until October 23. He is the 16th person to be arrested in the case, in which people have been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the anti-terror law UAPA over the past few months. The NIA had been interrogating him earlier and had questioned him for 15 hours during a span of five days before the arrest. Apart from the protest against his arrest in Chennai on Monday, the Bangalore Jesuit Educational Institutions (BJES) has also organised a protest at the same time in Bengaluru. A human chain will be formed from Brigade Road to Shantinagar Bus Depot. "Fr Stan Swamy, who is 83-years-old and a Jesuit priest, has spent almost three decades of his life identifying himself with the Adivasi people and their struggle, especially focusing on their land rights. He stood and supported the life, dignity and the self-respect of the Adivasi community," a release stated.
"The police came to my house with something written in Marathi and didn't even bother to provide a copy of this FIR in which they named me," Swamy had said at a press conference after the raids had been conducted in his house last year, according to reports. "I neither have any connection with Elgar Parishad nor the violence that took place in Bhima Koregaon in January," he had said then. "Freedom of dissent is being suppressed by the government, which bodes ill for the future of the country," he had also warned.