It was on 8th October 2020, Stan Swamy, 83 year old Jesuit as well as human rights defender taken to custody from his residence Bagaicha in Ranchi. January 15 marks one hundred days since he has been incarcerated in Taloja jail, Mumbai.
Stan Swamy was taken in to custody for his alleged involvement in January 1st 2018's Bhima Koregaon case and for participating in Elgar Parishad on 31 December 2017 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Battle of Bhima Koregoan. Swamy, a Jesuit of Jamshedpur province in his entire life has done notable activities for the upliftment of Adivasis, Tribal and Dalits in Jharkhand. The priest has been charged with Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for his alleged participation in the events.
Maharashtra's Bhima Koregaon, has a historical relevance. On 1st January 1818 British army with the support of Dalits had defeated Peshwa army led by Peshwa Bajirao II in the place of Koregaon. The battle is considered as the everlasting victory of Mahar community against Marathas.
At a time when the new state of Jharkhand was established Stan Swamy had moved to Ranchi and his role was phenomenal in establishing BAGAICHA, a social training centre. He stayed there and started coordinating and working for various people's movements and organization in a struggle to obtain the rights of Adivasis and Moolvasis. He became a Savior of Adivasis illustrating the issues of tribal population. His crucial involvement in Pathalgadi movement and notable involvement in Jharkhand Organization against Uranium Radiation (JOAR)-a campaign against Uranium Corporation India Ltd-have to be well analyzed.
However, ever since his arrest by National Investigation Agency, human rights activists, journalists, academicians have been staging protests in demand to release him. In the month of October, soon after his arrest more than 50 tribal activists and Human Rights defenders were sat on hunger strike in demand to release Fr. Stan Swamy. They claimed that his detention is questioning the legacy of Birsa Munda, the Folk hero of Santhal rebellion. According to them Stan Swamy had never been involved in Bhima Koregaon violence. They pointed out the 'illegal' arrest of more than 15 human rights defenders and remembered about how the real perpetrators are roaming scot-free in India now.
A chronological look-back through events
"What is happening to me is not something unique that is happening me alone. It is broader process that takes place all over the country. Prominent intellectuals, lawyers, writers, poets and student leaders, all they are put in jail just because they expressed their dissent. I am happy to be a part of the process because I am not a silent spectator, I am the part of game. Ready to pay the price whatever it may be," Swamy shared his video note prior to his arrest by National Investigation Agency.
- October 8 2020: Stan Swamy, the Jesuit and human rights defender taken to custody by NIA in relation with conspiracy in Bhima Koregaon case.
- November 26 2020: Swamy's plea at a special court for a straw and a sipper cup as a Parkinson's Disease patient put on hold till 4th December. (Later he received)
- December 14 2020: National Investigation Agency had opposed his bail application.
- December 18 2020: In a letter to Prime Minister Modi, human rights activists and others condemned the detention and imprisonment of 16 activists in Bhima Koregaon case.
- January 12 2021: Hearing on both the sides presenting their arguments began and continued.
- January 15, 2021: On the 100th day of Swamy's prison life, online programs for the release of him are being planned by Human rights organization like Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL).