Editorial, The Background:
Father Stan Swamy was not just a voice of the voiceless, he was a Priest who “leapt out of the walls of the Church and made the people his religion.” He breathed his last at 1 pm today. He was 84 and was suffering from Parkinson’s Disease. That the brutal, pathetic system of the state apparatus has aggravated his death is crystal clear to us.
He was arrested on 8 November last year under the unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for allegedly conspiring to incite violence at the Elgar Parishad in Bhima Koregaon. But it has been described, and rightly so, as a witch-hunt against any criticisms of the government. Swamy was the 16th person to be arrested in the case and also the oldest. He had an advanced stage of Parkinson disease at the time of his arrest, already frail and ailing. Because of the disease, he needed a sipper to drink water which was only made available to him after an application to the court. When the second phase of Covid-19 pandemic broke out and raged across Maharashtra, it did not spare Taloja prison where he was held up and he too was affected. Father Stan Swamy’s dignity and calm has been matched with venality by the NIA. He had been denied bail several times.
Father Stan Swamy’s demise is a failure of the system; a system which is ruthless and callous. The government has deprived him of dignity even while he was alive. It has blood on its hand.
P.S: As reported, after coming back to power for the third term with a massive mandate in West Bengal, Father John Felix Raj, the founder Vice Chancellor at St. Xavier’s University along with eleven priests wrote a letter to the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. They requested her to intervene for the release of Stan Swamy. She didn’t have the time to spare for the octogenarian. Prior to the election, did some nincompoops told us, she is the spearhead against this fascist regime?