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Stan Swamy: A Case Study

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Stan Swamy finally breathed his last on the 5th of July, 2021. Stanislaus Lourduswamy popularly known as Stan Swamy was an Indian Roman Catholic priest. He was a tribal rights activist living in Jharkhand’s Ranchi. Swamy was the oldest person to be accused of terrorism in India. On 8 October 2020, Swamy was arrested and charged by the National Investigation Agency under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, for his alleged role in the 2018 Bhima Koregaon violence and links to the Communist Party of India (Maoist). Swamy was suffering from Parkinson’s disease and had requested bail on medical grounds, which was rejected multiple times. While incarcerated, his health deteriorated and he died of COVID-19 complications on 5 July 2021.

What is the Bhima Koregaon Case?

203 years ago in 1818, a British regiment constituted mostly by the Mahars, a lower caste among the Hindus, had defeated the Maratha army who is considered to be the representative of the upper caste among the Hindus. Every year beginning from 1927 by Ambedkar, the Bahujan commemorate the day of this victory in Bhima Koregaon, a place in Maharashtra. 2018 was the 200th anniversary of the event and Bahujan from across the country had gathered to commemorate the day. This led to violence as others tried to disrupt it. People were killed, injured, and detained during the protest staged by the Bahujan after the violence. People were killed, injured, and detained. Pune Police had registered an FIR and Father Stan Swamy was listed as an accused. Stan Swamy then moved to the Bombay High Court to plea for the removal of his name from the name but the Bombay HC rejected the plea. The HC issued an order for the protection of Swamy from arrest momentarily but when the NIA got involved, he was arrested nonetheless.

Residences of nine more people, including Stan Swamy’s house in Ranchi, were raided by Pune Police in August, 2018.  By November it was made to appear that the incident was a part of the larger Maoist conspiracy. National Investigative Agency (NIA) took over the case in 2020 and Swamy was arrested by them and taken to Taloja Central Jail in October the same year when the man was 84 and suffering from Parkinson’s.

Arresting an old and gravely ailing man is in itself a controversial measure. But there cannot be any two opinions that Swamy was done in finally by our insensitive system. His final wish was to return to Ranchi and die among his people. That remained a wish.

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