Human rights activists, civil society groups, mass organizations and union members staged protests in Jharkhand, Delhi and other parts of the country on Friday to protest “institutional killing From Father Stan Swamy.
More than 70 people, including academics such as development economist Jean Dreze, students and representatives of trade unions and the Popular Union for Civil Liberties, braved the rain to form a 1 km human chain on the main road near the Albert Ekka Chowk in Ranchi.
The protests are part of a series of public celebrations called by rights groups, labor unions, Christian organizations, left-wing parties and their student and youth wings over the next five weeks to protest the treatment of government to Father Stan and push for more humane policing. and the justice system.
The 84-year-old Jesuit and tribal rights activist from Ranchi died in Mumbai detention awaiting bail nine months after his arrest by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the Elgaar links case Parishad-Maoists.
“(Friday’s protests in Jharkhand were) part of the national campaign launched by more than 120 organizations,” said Arvind Avinash, organizational secretary of the PUCL.
“A delegation will submit a memorandum addressed to President Ram Nath Kovind through the Governor of Jharkhand Ramesh Bais with a charter of demands.”
The demands include the repeal of “draconian” legislation such as the UAPA counterterrorism law, the sedition law and the national security law; the release of all political prisoners; establish the responsibility of law enforcement and investigative bodies for filing false cases; and compensation for victims of false cases and police atrocities.
Another demand is the immediate withdrawal by the Jharkhand government of all complaints against Father Stan and others related to the Pathalgadi tribal rights movement.
“There were unrest in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Delhi and other states on Friday to demand justice for Father Stan and call for justice to restore the dignity of Father Stan and him. do justice at least in death, “said the national secretary general of the PUCL. Kavita Srivastava told the Jaipur Telegraph.
She said the month-long campaign would witness a stir on August 9 to mark World Indigenous Peoples Day and the launch of the Quit India movement of 1942. On August 15, a pledge would be made to defend democracy and the Constitution with a national reading of the Preamble.
“There is also a planned mass hunger strike across the country between August 15 and 27,” Srivastava said.
“There will also be a nationwide demonstration on August 28, as it is the day that five people in the Bhima Koregaon (Elgaar Parishad) case were arrested three years ago. It is planned to end the campaign with a candlelight vigil for all the imprisoned comrades (political prisoners).
The Jesuit Conference of India called on supporters and friends to mark July 28 as the National Day of Justice in memory of Father Stan, and invited people of all religious identities to join in paying homage to the priest .
Civil society groups will organize a candlelight march in Jharkhand on August 15 to protest the Center’s crackdown on dissent.
Several leftist groups staged demonstrations in Delhi on Friday on the fringes of Kisan Sansad in Jantar Mantar.
Prasenjeet Kumar, general labor secretary of the Indian Students Association of CPIML Liberation, said: “The new revelations about the Pegasus spyware have made known the type of surveillance and repression to which Indians are subjected. Governments collude to oppress people.
He added: “The death of Father Stan Swamy is another example of the inhumanity of the RSS-BJP regime. We demand an independent investigation and the immediate release of all political prisoners.
Other participants in Delhi included the student wing of CPM SFI, the Liberation and Red Star factions of CPIML and their fronts, several far-left student groups and the National Confederation of Human Rights Organizations.
“Mass movements are built by the masses. No matter how many leaders are taken political prisoners by the central government, many more will come from the masses and take their place, ”said Varkey Parakkal, member of the State Committee of IFC Delhi.
The New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI) also held meetings and protests across the country on Friday.
“All unions, regardless of their political affiliations, and all organizations of farmers, women, students and discriminated communities in addition to democratic rights organizations joined our one-day protests through the country in memory of the intrepid Father Stan “, declared Gautam, secretary general of the NTUI. Mody said.
“The objective was to defend our democracy, the right to strike of workers, our right to dissent and, above all, the idea of a plural and progressive India.
At the Bombay High Court, a judge who praised Father Stan’s work withdrew his oral submissions in response to a court officer’s request.
PTI quoted another Solicitor General, Anil Singh, who appeared for the NIA at a plea hearing challenging the denial of bail to the Jesuit, told Judge SS Shinde: “We all tolerated death. of Mr. Swamy, but any personal or private comments from judges or any judicial officer, especially in open court, are normally distorted by the press and social media.
Judge Shinde, who heard the case with Judge NJ Jamadar, said: “If you like, I withdraw my words. Our goal is to always be fair and balanced. That should be the end of the matter.
Father Stan’s lawyer Mihir Desai has asked the court to monitor the mandatory judicial inquiry into the death in custody which has yet to begin.
The NIA opposed it on the grounds that since the priest was dead, calls for his release on bail ended and this is where the hearing should end.
The court asked Desai to make written submissions and adjourned the case until August 4.
The request for bail of lawyer and activist Sudha Bharadwaj, co-accused of Father Stan, was also adjourned to August 2 by the same bench after the government of Maharashtra and the NIA argued it should not. not benefit from a deposit by default for a technical detail.
Bharadwaj’s lawyer requested bail on the grounds that the prosecution erred in asking a judge for additional sessions, and not the designated special judge of an NIA court, to take cognizance of his act accusation.
Additional reports by PTI from Mumbai