Justice For All, and especially the Save India From Fascism project team is very saddened to hear of the passing of Fr. Stan Swamy in a Mumbai hospital on July 5, 2021 from COVID.
Fr. Stan Swamy, a Jesuit priest, was arrested under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act in October 2020, in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case. Fr. Swamy was well known for his lifelong fight for human & legal rights for adivasis and other marginalized communities. He was the oldest political prisoner of the Indian regime.
Fr. Swamy was held at Taloja Central Jail close to Mumbai, and had tested positive for Covid recently. He passed away ahead of his bail hearing which had been set for July 6 at the Bombay High Court.
Hena Zuberi, Director of Justice For All said, “Fr. Stan is a victim of the Indian Government. As so many of the good priest’s friends have indicated, the Indian Government wanted him to go away, even if it meant going away by inevitable death.”
Zahir Adil, Save India From Fascism team lead said “Fr. Stan’s work was dangerous to the establishment, but it is imperative that in a free India, all citizens feel safe and have all of the human and legal rights that are available to them under the Indian constitution. We at Justice For All, resolve to provide whatever support we can from here in the United States to his cause.”
Justice For All had filed for many victims of the Indian fascist ruling party as Prisoners of Conscience with the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. Fr. Swamy was one of the victims filed for and his submission was accepted and listed by USCIRF.
The 2018 Bhima Koregaon violence refers to violence during an annual celebratory gathering on 1 January 2018. Dalits are the lowest rung of the Hindu caste hierarchy. Dalit groups had organized a meeting which had irked some of the higher caste Hindu groups which had led to protests and the death of a young man.
The handling of the case has been widely contested, with Hindutva leaders involved being absolved of any wrongdoing as well as planted evidence on computers belonging to activists.
Fr. Swamy statement before his arrest:
Fr. Swamy’s passing: Article in Indian media: