NCHRO condemns the arrest of the 83-year-old tribal rights activist Father Stan Swami. Our fact-finding team that went to Ranchi to study the brutal murders of Muslims on charges of slaughtering cows in the year 2018, met the priest among many other people to know the facts behind the attacks on Muslims. It was Father Swami who gave a comprehensive account of what was happening under the BJP rule in Jharkhand state at that time. He told us that on average about two Adivasis are arrested on draconian laws and jailed daily. He has dedicated his life to standing with the tribal people who are vacated from their native lands for the sole purpose of mining by corporate.
Father Stan Swami is now arrested from his residence in Ranchi on October 08 evening and taken to Mumbai where he was produced before a court and remanded to judicial custody till October 23. It is said that he was arrested for his role in the riots in Bhima Koregaon to which place he had never gone on any occasion. Anybody who is raising his or her voice against the evacuation of the tribal population from their native land is now charged as a member of the banned Maoist party. Now the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has charged Father Swami also as a Naxalite and a charge-sheet is filed against eight people including activists Gautam Navlakha for their alleged involvement in inciting a mob to violence in Bhima Koregaon.
Father Swami was interrogated several times by the investigation agency regarding these charges. On the last week of July and in the first week of August he was questioned for about 15 hours. In all these occasions he was fully cooperating with the interrogators.
The Jharkhand CM Hemant Soran has condemned the arrest of Father Swamy. He also questioned that what kind of message the BJP led central government wants to send through this sort of arresting activists who are raising their voice in support of the poor people. The Kerala CM also had condemned the arrest of Father Swami.
NCHRO strongly condemns the arrest of Father Stan Swami and urges the NIA to release him immediately.