The National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested Fr. Stan Swamy, the 83-year-old Jharkhand-based Jesuit and Human Rights Activist, on the 8th of this month, under indictments in relation with the Bhima Koregaon case. Stan is the oldest person to be alleged of terrorism in India and a crucial part of Jharkhand Organization against Uranium Radiation (JOAR).
Two days prior to his arrest, he had asserted in a video statement regarding his concerns on the upliftment of Adivasis, Tribals and Dalits in Jharkhand, as he becomes the 16th person who got interrogated and detained by NIA in connection with the Edgar Parishad/Bhima Koregaon case since 2018. "What is happening to me is not something unique and happening to me alone. It is a broader process that takes place all over the country. Prominent intellectuals, lawyers, writers, poets and student leaders, all 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 a part of the game. I'm ready to pay the price, whatever it may be" shared Fr. Stan Swamy, preceding his seizing and probing as he got booked under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) from his residence in BAGAICHA, Ranchi by NIA from New Delhi.
Moreover, Peter Martin, a Christian priest practising in the Jharkand Province told Madhyamam, "Ever since, Stan Swamy relocated to Ranchi and established BAGAICHA, a social training centre, he had actively remained at the centre by coordinating various people's movements and organizations in a struggle to obtain the rights of Adivasis and Moolvasis in the state, steadfast in his objectives. He is in no way connected to any Naxalite nor the Bhima Koregaon issue, and he has never been to Koregaon. He got arrested just because he was very vocal about the issues of the marginalized and as he openly spoke against the crony capitalists".
Also, voicing her support for Fr. Swamy, Aloka, a Jharkand-based activist said, "Stan Swamy is taking the lead of Birsa Munda's ideology and safeguarding the issues on water, land and jungle in various parts of Jharkhand. He has opposed the atrocities of BJP and Government on tribal population. NIA doesn't even carry any evidence against him properly as he was arrested by not abiding by the rules of Covid-19 protocol. He has always stood for the people by criticizing the act of mob lynching and sexual assaults on Adivasi women. Government wanted him to get arrested because he is the biggest obstacle before them to exploit the marginalized in Jharkhand. "It is completely a political move", Aloka concludes.