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Why the Life and Times of Fr Stan Swami Matter Even More Today

Why the Life and Times of Fr Stan Swami Matter Even More Today

Indian Catholic Matters / by Verghese V Joseph

Fr Stan Swamy, a Jesuit priest and tribal rights activist, dedicated his life to fighting for the rights of the marginalised and oppressed in India. His unwavering commitment to social justice and human rights earned him the title of the country’s oldest prisoner charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for his alleged role in a Maoist conspiracy. Swamy’s death on July 5, 2021, while still in custody, has sparked outrage and calls for justice from human rights organisations and individuals around the world.
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Also read:
Jharkhand police to probe into Maoist links with Stan Swamy’s ‘Bagaicha’, 63 other frontal organisations (The New Indian Express / Sep 2023)
Can Father Stan Swamy’s PIL be the blueprint for justice to thousands of undertrials lodged under UAPA? (The Leaflet / Aug 2023)

▪ An Autobiographical Fragment, Memory and Reflection


Indian Social Institute, Bangalore | by Stan Swamy | August 2021
Edition: Aug 2021
Publisher: Indian Social Institute, Bangalore
Language: English
Paperback: 149 pages
Access a free PDF copy of the book here

▪ Framed to Die – The Case of Stan Swamy

By Peoples Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR)
Edition: Aug 2021
Publisher: Peoples Union for Democratic Rights, Delhi
Language: English
Paperback: 45 pages
Access a free PDF copy of the book here

Immediately withdraw pending Pathalgadi cases, including on late Stan Swamy: JJM

Immediately withdraw pending Pathalgadi cases, including on late Stan Swamy: JJM

Immediately withdraw pending pathalgadi cases, including on late Stan Swamy: JJM

02/01/2024

Countercurrents / by Representative

According to a recent RTI reply by the Superintendent of Police of Khunti, five pathalgadi cases of Khunti are yet to be withdrawn. It also includes the case registered against 20 activists and intellectuals, including Stan Swamy. Also, according to the RTI reply, another pathalgadi related case was registered in Khunti in March 2020 under the current Hemant Soren government. Of the total 21 cases registered by the Raghubar Das government in Khunti, 16 have been withdrawn.
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4 Years After Announcement, Govt Yet to Withdraw Cases Pending Against Pathalgadi Movement

30/12/2023

The Wire / by The Wire Staff

The pending cases name Stan Swamy along with 20 other activists and intellectuals associated with the movement. On 29 December 2019, Hemant Soren soon after taking the oath as chief minister had announced the withdrawal of all Pathalgadi cases.
Five cases registered in connection with the Pathalgadi movement in Jharkhand’s Kunti district are still pending to be withdrawn. Four years ago, in December 2019, when Jharkhand’s current chief minister Hemant Soren took over, he vowed to withdraw all cases in connection with the movement, filed under his predecessor Raghubar Das’s government.
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Also read:
Jharkhand police to probe into Maoist links with Stan Swamy’s ‘Bagaicha’, 63 other frontal organisations (The New Indian Express / Sep 2023)
Can Father Stan Swamy’s PIL be the blueprint for justice to thousands of undertrials lodged under UAPA? (The Leaflet / Aug 2023)
In Jharkhand, Scheduled Tribes Still Battle Flimsy Criminal Cases Filed With Little Evidence (IndiaSpend / Oct 2021)

Truth and dare in Bhima Koregaon

Truth and dare in Bhima Koregaon

poster by @/bakeryprasad

The Leaflet / by Susan Abraham

The Bhima Koregaon–Elgar Parishad ‘Maoist’ conspiracy case is a grand experiment with truth where the State is daring the people to stand up for justice.
‘TRUTH or dare’ is a mostly verbal party game requiring two or more players. Players are given the choice between answering a question truthfully, or performing a ‘dare’. The premise is simple: Players take turns asking one another ‘truth or dare?’ If they choose truth, they have to answer a question of the asker’s choosing. If they choose dare, the asker dares them to do something rather than make a confession.
Suppose the State were to subject its citizens to a macabre version of this game by cooking up a conspiracy case and locking up people behind bars. Then tell them that in order to win their freedom, they have to choose the ‘truth’ of the conspiracy or the ‘dare’ to dissent.
This is the absurd logic that plays out when you try to make sense of the Bhima Koregaon conspiracy case.
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Also read:
Five years of Bhima Koregaon arrests: CDRO marks ‘black day’ (The Leaflet / Jun 2023)

Jharkhand police to probe into Maoist links with Stan Swamy’s ‘Bagaicha’, 63 other frontal organisations

Jharkhand police to probe into Maoist links with Stan Swamy’s ‘Bagaicha’, 63 other frontal organisations

The New Indian Express / by Mukesh Ranjan

A delegation of these organisations met Special IG Prabhat Kumar demanding to clear their stand on the issue. They also demanded immediate rejection of any such list if it has been issued.
Jharkhand police has ordered its Special Branch to probe the Maoist links with some of the frontal organizations like Stan Swamy’s ‘Bagaicha,’ ‘Stan Swami Nyay Manch’ and several
others active in the state and submit a report.
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Also read:
Can Father Stan Swamy’s PIL be the blueprint for justice to thousands of undertrials lodged under UAPA? (The Leaflet / Aug 2023)
Even after Stan Swamy’s death, the fight to get justice for Jharkhand undertrials is still alive (Scroll.in / Dec 2021)
Justice for Stan Swamy! Drenched supporters carry on his legacy (SabrangIndia / Jul 2021)
NIA Opposes Stan Swamy’s Bail; Calls PUCL, Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan ‘Maoist Fronts’ (The Wire / Jan 2021)
A study of Undertrials in Jharkhand (Sanhati / by Bagaicha Research Team / Feb 2016)

Can Fr Stan Swamy’s PIL be the blueprint for justice to thousands of undertrials lodged under UAPA?

Can Fr Stan Swamy’s PIL be the blueprint for justice to thousands of undertrials lodged under UAPA?

The Leaflet / by Sarah Thanawala

Can the judgment which granted bail to Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira form the basis for implementation of the same principles for granting bail to other accused in the Bhima Koregaon–Elgar Parishad case as well as to the other 500 detenues in Jharkhand who are still at the pre- or post-trial stage?
… A public interest litigation (PIL) filed by the late Father Stan Swamy in 2017 in the Jharkhand High Court may serve as a path in the direction of ending incarceration of the disturbingly large number of those held in custody without a trial.
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Also watch/read:
Video: Vernon v. State of Maharashtra: A Breakthrough in Bail Jurisprudence under the UAPA? (PUCL India / Aug 2023)
Even after Stan Swamy’s death, the fight to get justice for Jharkhand undertrials is still alive (Scroll.in / Dec 2021)
In Jharkhand, Scheduled Tribes Still Battle Flimsy Criminal Cases Filed With Little Evidence (IndiaSpend / Oct 2021)
Public interest litigation filed by Stan Swamy and Xavier Soreng in 2017 (CJP / 2017)
A study of Undertrials in Jharkhand (Sanhati / by Bagaicha Research Team / Feb 2016)

Frivolous conspiracy cases on Jharkhand’s anti-displacement activists: FACAM

Frivolous conspiracy cases on Jharkhand’s anti-displacement activists: FACAM

Bacha Singh, Damodar Turi during protests

Counterview / by Counterview Desk / FACAM

Civil rights group Forum Against Corporatization And Militarization (FACAM), even as condemning the alleged harassment of Jharkhand activists by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), has said that they are being intimidated because they have “opposed corporate loot of people’s resources.”

It is a malicious plot of the state machinery to suppress democratic voice against corporate loot and displacement of adivasis
Among Bhima Koregaon political prisoners, most were actively opposing the state-corporate expropriation of people’s resources, displacement and state repression. Father Stan Swamy himself played an instrumental in formation of Visthapan Virodhi Janvikas Andolan (VVJA) and was active in Pathalgadhi Movement to ensure the autonomy and sanctity of gram sabha.
Read full statement


Also read
Narendra Modi’s Government Is Using False Charges of Terrorism to Repress Its Opponents (Jacobinmag / April 2022)
This Organisation In Jharkhand Is Holding The State Accountable (Youthkiawaaz / April 2022)
NIA Opposes Stan Swamy’s Bail; Calls PUCL, Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan ‘Maoist Fronts’ (The Wire / Jan 2021)

Prisoners to get hot water, bedding, phone call facilities from state govt

Prisoners to get hot water, bedding, phone call facilities from state govt

Drawing by Arun Ferreira

Hindustan Times / by Vinay Dalvi

Fr Swamy, who passed away two months later at a private hospital, was provided with a mattress, bedsheet, pillow, walker, walking stick and commode only after he moved the Bombay high court for temporary bail on medical grounds.
In May 2021, 84-year-old Jesuit priest and tribal rights activist Father Stan Swamy, who had been sent to jail by the government in the Elgar Parishad case, found himself in dire straits. A Parkinsons’ sufferer, Fr Swamy was unable to drink water from a glass and had requested a straw or sipper, which was denied to him. Eventually he was compelled to approach the special NIA court, but received his straw and sipper only a month and a half after he had filed his application.
Read more


Also watch/read:
Stop Denying Political Prisoners the Right to Healthcare in Jails (PUDR / Sep 2022)
Punished without trial: How India’s political prisoners are being denied basic rights in jail (Scroll.in / Aug 2022)
Hunger Strike unto death against the harassment from Taloja Central Jail’s apathetic administration (By Sagar Gorkhe / May 20, 2022)

● Video: The Conditions of Prisoners in Indian Jails

By All India Lawyers’ Association for Justice – AILAJ / March 2022

en | 1:21:23 | 2022
The huge number of undertrials, the overcrowding, and the disproportional numbers of Dalit, Muslim and Adivasi prisoners are part of the prison problem in India.
We are joined by Adv. Sudha Bharadwaj for a discussion on the Conditions of Prisoners in Indian Jails.
Watch video

Various statements to commemorate Stan Swamy’s death anniversary / Justice for the BK16!

Various statements to commemorate Stan Swamy’s death anniversary / Justice for the BK16!


Father Stan Swamy Died As A UAPA Martyr; But Political Prisoners Continue To Suffer Without Bail

08/07/2023

Live Law / by Awstika Das

Two years ago, on July 5, Father Stan Swamy died as an undertrial prisoner in the Bhima Koregaon case after 270 days of incarceration. The 84-year-old Jesuit priest and tribal rights activist – arrested over alleged links to Naxals – was the country’s oldest inmate charged under the anti-terror law, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. “But we still sing in chorus. A caged bird can still sing,” he famously wrote in a letter from jail. But a storied life – of fighting injustice and defending human rights – came to a poor, undignified end, as Swamy battled not only with advanced Parkinson’s disease and coronavirus while awaiting trial, but also the apathy of the State that denied him basic amenities like socks, a sweater, and a blanket to stave off the cold of his jail cell, and a a straw and a sipper to drink water.
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Father Stan Swamy remembered in Bengaluru on second death anniversary

07/07/2023

The indian Express / by Express News Service

Father Frazer Mascarenhas, the former principal of St Xaviers College in Mumbai, in whose care Fr Swamy was in his last days, termed the Jharkhand-based activist as a committed Jesuit and scholar and recalled his activism towards the welfare of the tribal communities.
Father Stan Swamy, the Jesuit priest who died while in judicial custody in connection with Elgaar Parishad case, was remembered on his second death anniversary at an event held in Bengaluru on Wednesday.
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Panel discussion on civic literacy held to commemorate Father Stan Swamy’s second death anniversary

06/07/2023

The Telegraph / by Pheroze L. Vincent

Swamy, an 84-year-old Jesuit activist from Jharkhand, died of post-Covid complications while in judicial custody in Mumbai
The second death anniversary of Father Stan Swamy, who died in custody while awaiting trial in the Elgaar Parishad-Maoist links case, was commemorated with a panel discussion on “Civic Literacy and Political Participation” at the Jawahar Bhawan auditorium in the capital on Wednesday.
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‘Withdraw Bhima Koregaon case’: Activists demand after 2 yrs of Stan Swamy’s death

06/07/2023

The Siasat Daily / by News Desk

84-year-old Jharkhand-based tribal rights activist Father Stan Swamy passed away while in custody for his alleged role in the Bhima Koregaon case.
Shaheed Father Stan Swamy Nyay Morcha, an umbrella organisation of various social outfits in Jharkhand, on Wednesday called for the withdrawal of the Bhima Koregaon case and the immediate release of the arrested.
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Pic shared by Abhinay Lakshman / @al_lakshman

Jharkhand social activists demand action against culprits of Stan Swamy’s death in judicial custody

05/07/2023

Lagatar News / by  Raj Kumar

Ranchi, July 5: Shaheed Father Stan Swamy Nyay Morcha today organized a tribute-cum- resolution meeting in front of Raj Bhawan on the occasion of second martyrdom day of the father, whom the NIA had arrested on October 8, 2020 from Ranchi for delivering a hate speech. Later, he died on July 5, 2021 while going for treatment to a Mumbai hospital in judicial custody.
Many social workers and representatives of various organizations and political parties from different districts, including Ranchi participated in it. They demanded action against the culprits of Stan’s death in judicial custody.
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Activists urge Indian president to clear Stan Swamy’s name

06/07/2023

UCA News / by UCA News reporter

Tributes flow on the second death anniversary of the late Jesuit priest, who was falsely charged with terror-related laws
A group of rights activists in India have urged President Droupadi Murmu to withdraw terror-related cases against late Jesuit Father Stan Swamy and 15 other accused in the 2018 Bhima Koregaon violence case.
“It is a false case registered against Father Swamy and others and it should be withdrawn,” said Father Antony P.M, a social activist at a gathering to mark the second death anniversary of the priest, on July 5 in the eastern Jharkhand state. Tributes were paid to the Swamy across the country.
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Bring legislation against custodial torture, activists urge TN government

05/07/2023

The New Indian Express / by By Palanivel Rajan C

“Leaders’ rhetoric against custodial tortures will do no good on the ground, where plausible changes ought to be done in the police stations where the most number of such incidents take place.”
TIRUCHY:  On the second death anniversary of tribal rights activist Stan Swamy who died in jail after being arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case and after being consistently denied bail, activists and outfits in the state have called out for an Act called ‘Tamil Nadu Prevention of Custodial Torture Act’.
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Also read/watch:
Stan Swamy’s second death anniversary: Stand Up for What Is Right, demand Co-Accused  (July 5, 2023)

● Remembering Father Stan and demand justice for the BK-16! (July 5, 2023/ PUCL)

en / hindi | 2:49:57 | 2023
Watch recording

Video: Remembering Father Stan and demand justice for the BK-16!

Video: Remembering Father Stan and demand justice for the BK-16!

Remembering Father Stan and demand justice for the BK-16!

05/07/2023

By People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) / fb Videos

Announcement
Join us to remember Father Stan Swamy, and demand justice for his institutional murder.
We will have family members and friends of the accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, speak about the experience of the prison conditions and this unjust prolonged arrest.
We will also be joined by political leaders, international human rights organisations and lawyers, to help take the campaign forward to defend democracy!
Repeal UAPA!
Release all political prisoners!

en / hindi | 2:49:57 | 2023
Watch recording


Let’s Not Forget Father Stan Swamy!

08/07/2023

Rediff.com / by Jyoti Punwani

The tributes to Father Stan by his associates and his co-accused (which were read out) provided a clue to why his death continues to touch so many.
“We don’t want this to be forgotten or forgiven.” — senior advocate Mihir Desai.
“Do not forget, do not forgive.” This theme ran through the Zoom meeting organised by the National Campaign to Defend Democracy, a coalition of human rights groups, on the second anniversary of Father Stan Swamy’s death.
Read more


Ashirvad and PUCL Karnataka – Remembering Father Stan Swamy

05/07/2023

People’s Union for Civil Liberties fb Videos / by Ashirvad and PUCL Karnataka

Ashirvad and PUCL Karnataka – Remembering Father Stan Swamy
Fr. Frazer, Dr. V Suresh and Maitreyi

en | 18:19min | 2023
Watch recording Part 1

en | 1:07:37 | 2023
Watch recording Part 2

Stan Swamy’s second death anniversary: Stand Up for What Is Right, demand Co-Accused

Stan Swamy’s second death anniversary: Stand Up for What Is Right, demand Co-Accused

poster by @/bakeryprasad

In a Letter From Jail, Stan Swamy’s Co-Accused Ask President Murmu to Stand Up for What Is Right

05/07/2023

The Wire / by The Wire Staff

Today is Father Stan Swamy’s second death anniversary.

Two years ago on this day, 84-year-old Jharkhand-based tribal rights activist Father Stan Swamy breathed his last while in custody. His death exposed the state’s negligence and inability to protect prisoners. Swamy, a Parkinson’s patient, spent close to a year in jail, deprived of the most basic facilities – one of which was a sipper to drink water from.

On his second death anniversary, 11 of his co-accused (Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Hany Babu, Ramesh Gaichor, Sagar Gorkhe and Jyoti Jagtap) – all human rights activists and academics – write a letter to President of India Draupadi Murmu, who belongs to the tribal community that Swamy worked very closely with. Murmu, who recently spoke passionately about the conditions of Indian prisoners, was the governor of Jharkhand when Swamy’s organisation, Bagaicha, was raided and eventually he was arrested by the National Investigation Agency.
Along with the letter, the still-arrested human rights defenders also announced their one-day symbolic hunger strike in Mumbai’s Taloja and Byculla jails, where they are presently lodged.
The full text of their letter to the president is below.
Read more


Caged birds and prison songs: In chorus, Stan Swamy and the Bhima Koregaon accused kept hope alive

05/07/2023

Vernon Gonsalves

Scroll.in / by Vernon Gonsalves

A fellow prisoner’s recollections of the Jesuit priest, who died on July 5, 2021.

“…I am ready to pay the price, whatever be it. But we will sing in chorus. A caged bird can still sing.”
– Father Stan Swamy

When Stan Swamy, in his last message before landing in Navi Mumbai’s Taloja Central Prison in October 2020, declared that a “caged bird can still sing”, he was not talking about the tunes prisoners sing in jail. He had then not been imprisoned before that and was probably not acquainted with prison-singing in its various forms.
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On Father Stan Swamy’s second death anniversary, two letters, a painting and the triumph of memory against forgetting

05/07/2023

The Leaflet / by Sarah Thanawala

Father Stan Swamy’s death was an international shock the ripples of which can still be felt, and a blot on the record of a State that treats criminal justice as its plaything. His legacy is treasured by his co-accused in the Bhima-Koregaon case inside the prison, and everyone who stands for justice and democracy outside the prison.
… The 11 incarcerated accused persons in the Elgar Parishad case are set to go on a day-long hunger strike today. They pen an imaginary letter from Swamy to the President of India Droupadi Murmu, terming it “Prayers that never came to be”.
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“Hopefully waiting” writes Shoma Sen from prison

07/07/2023

InSAF India / by Shoma Sen

This handwritten note by Shoma Sen marks five years in prison for the activist and academic.
As we enter the sixth year of our incarceration the predominant feeling over the last five years is that of waiting. From waiting for default bail in the seventh month of our imprisonment, most of us are still waiting. In jail, we sit there waiting for court dates, waiting for mulakaat, waiting for the newspaper, waiting for bail and for the jail God called Memo. In jail, our sense of time itself gets warped. When a lawyer tells a prisoner that she will get bail in one or two days, it may actually mean one or two years. 24 hours of clock time could mean 24 months in judicial time.
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