Fr Stan Swamy, priest arrested in Ranchi: ‘False and fabricated’ charges against me
The 82-year-old Jesuit was arrested and released by order of the Maharashtra police. The agents created a false letter linking him to groups of Maoist guerrillas. The priest defends the rights of prisoners, Dalits, tribals. "My work impacts the powerful interests of politicians in government".
Ranchi (AsiaNews) - The police's accusations "against me are nothing but absolute falsehoods". This is stated by Fr. Stan Lourdusamy (known as Fr Stan Swamy), 82, a Jesuit priest of Ranchi. He is among the activists accused of treason, terrorism and complicity with the Maoist guerrillas at the end of August by the Indian police. Unlike the other well-known five known faces of the country's cultural landscape, still in prison, the priest was released after a few days.
According to activists and church members, the arrests serve to silence those who criticize the current Hindu nationalist government and pave the way for the BJP party (Bharatiya Janata Party) in the next elections of 2019.
On September 3 the priest released an official statement (for the complete text, see below). In the text he reconstructs the phases of the Maharashtra police investigation into last January between Dalits and Hindu radicals. It is precisely the clashes that are at the center of allegations of sedition and incitement to terrorism that have led to the arrest of intellectuals throughout the country.
Among the charges against Fr. Swamy, the existence of a letter in which there is talk of alleged funding for Maoist groups. In this regard, he reponds: "It is nothing but a complete invention and absolute falsehood spread by the Maharashtra police". He then denies the veracity of the letter and claims that it is a "fabricated" document.
According to the Jesuit, it is his activity in favor of prisoners who are jailed without due process, Dalits and tribals. In fact he is the coordinator of the PPSC (Persecuted Prisoners Solidarity Committee), a committee that denounced the delay in the trials of prisoners "who languish in Jhanrkhand prisons".
Fr. Swamy continues the declaration by claiming that he has been fighting for years "to ensure that Dalit and tribal Adivasis become aware of their rights, as guaranteed by the Indian Constitution", and in particular the land rights of Adivasi communities, against the State that expropriate the possessions.
The priest concludes: “I fear that these activities of mine have angered the powerful interests within the government that they not only have foisted a case of sedition against me in Jharkhand but now have included me in a false case that links me with banned organizations at national level in order to discredit me together with other intellectuals, legal professionals and social activists raising our voices for the rights of poorest of poor people in the state of Jharkhand and all over India”.