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“India: I am very saddened”: EU Rights Body Rep on Stan Swamy’s death

India: I am very saddened to hear that Fr #StanSwamy has passed away. A defender of indigenous peoples’ rights, Eamon Gilmore wrote on Twitter

Tuesday July 6, 2021 9:29 AM, ummid.com News Network

Stan Swamy

Mumbai: Condemnation and condolences are pouring in after Stan Swamy, 84-year-old activist arrested on what many believe false charges, died in police custody on Monday, waiting for bail on health ground.

“India: I am very saddened to hear that Fr #StanSwamy has passed away. A defender of indigenous peoples’ rights. He was held in detention for the past 9 months. The EU had been raising his case repeatedly with authorities”, Eamon Gilmore, EU Special Representative for Human Rights and EU Special Envoy for the Peace Process in Colombia, wrote in a Twitter post.

Gilmore tagged with his post a similarly scathing post by Mary Lawlor, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders (HRD) expressing concern about Stan Swamy’s deteriorating health.

After Stan Swamy’s death, Mary Lawlor tagged an old video of the deceased Jasuit Priest, writing:

“The news from #India today is devastating. Human Rights Defender & Jesuit priest Fr Stan Swamy has died in custody, nine months after his arrest on false charges of terrorism. Jailing HRDs is inexcusable.”

Stan Swamy was arrested in Elgar Parishad case. The case relates to an event on December 31, 2017, at Koregaon-Bhima near Pune, which was followed by violence and arson that left one person dead. In the video released before his arrest, Stan Swamy is seen telling that he was not even present at the Elgar Parishad event in 2017.

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Swamy died in a Mumbai hospital Monday when the Bombay High Court was about to hear a bail petition.

During a hearing in the case, Stan Swamy had complained that his health has deteriorated ever since his arrest in October last year and had said that since then he is unable to do anything on his own and needs assistance to even eat.

"My only request..."

Swamy was admitted in Holy Family in May this year after his health condition deteriorated further.
The rights' activist had pressed for an interim bail and said that he might die anytime soon and had accordingly expressed his desire to die among "his people" in Ranchi.

“I don’t want to be hospitalised. I would rather go to Ranchi and be with my friends.” And then Father Swamy had sought the bench:

“My only request is for interim bail.”

The headlines of all major newspaper today are about the tragic death of the ailing activist.
“Stan Swamy’s is death in custody: Waiting for medical bail, ailing 84-year old passes away”, Indian Express headlines in all its editions screamed.

Soon after Stan Swamy’s death, Hemant Soren, Chief Minister of Jharkhand where where Stan Swamy worked for tribals for more than five decades, and Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan also posted messages of tribute and condolences, even as Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Shashi Tharoor, and intellectuals and artists like TM Krishna led hundreds of thousands of netizens who took different social media platforms to express grief and condemn the brutal system.

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