Stan Swamy passes away

Image Source: Onmanorama

Fr. Stan Swamy, 84, passed away at 1:24 PM on July 5, 2021.

Swamy had been in jail for nine months regarding the Bhima Koregaon case and the High Court was hearing his bail plea. Advocate Mihir Desai, who was representing Swamy, demanded a judicial inquiry into his death.

He was admitted to the Holy Family Hospital in Mumbai on May 28 due to COVID-19 complications. He also suffered from Parkinson’s disease. He was put on ventilator support after suffering from a cardiac arrest this morning but never regained consciousness.

Who was Fr. Stan Swamy?

Stan Lorduswamy was a Roman Catholic priest from Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu. He was known for fighting for the rights of the tribal people getting displaced, especially in Jharkhand. He also served as the Director of the Indian Social Institute in Bengaluru for 11 years till 1986.

Why is advocate Desai demanding a judicial inquiry?

Advocate Mihir Desai claims that the activist was taken to the hospital 10 days late. He said that the High Court bench ensured the best medical care for Swamy but the same cannot be said about the NIA (National Investigation Agency) and the jail authorities.

External pressure

On Sunday, the National Human Rights Commission had directed the Maharashtra Government to ensure provision of all the required healthcare facilities and protection of his basic human rights.

Civil society members had also urged the Bombay High Court to provide bail to the activist on the grounds of failing health.

Why was Swamy in jail?

Swamy was charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The NIA claims that he was supporting the Maoists and was a part of a conspiracy to instigate caste-based violence in the Bhima Koregaon village, Pune.

The Elgar Parishad conclave held at Shaniwar Wada, Pune on December 31, 2017, included alleged inflammatory speeches which, the police claims, ultimately caused the violence at the Bhima Koregaon war memorial the next day. Several academicians and activists have been accused in this case for making these speeches and ‘instigating’ violence.

Swamy’s take

Swamy had denied these charges. He claimed that he was being framed by the NIA because all of his work was related to caste and land-based struggles of people. He was seeking bail and challenging a section of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. He was also seeking medical treatment for various ailments including Parkinson’s disease.

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