US Rep. orders investigation into priest's death in India

Fr. Swamy

U.S. Rep. Juan Vargas is ordering an investigation of 84-year-old Indian Jesuit priest, Fr. Stan Swamy, who died in prison. He was arrested without trial under the country’s anti-terrorism laws.

A resolution was initiated by the Democratic congressman, Vergas, from California to mark Swamy’s death, which happened on July 5, 2022.

Vargas said in a statement, “Father Stan was a staunch human rights defender who dedicated his life to giving a voice to the voiceless.

“He advocated for the rights of the indigenous Adivasi people, trained young community leaders, and strived for justice for many mistreated communities in India.”

In October 2020, Swamy was arrested alongside nine activists, on charges of collaboration with Maoist terrorists under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, and accused of instigating violence in the western state of Maharashtra in 2018.

He was already suffering from Parkinson’s disease at the time of his arrest. While he was in pre-trial detention, he had contracted COVID-19.

He had written several letters while in prison narrating his ordeal including not being given a sipper to drink water. Although his health became worse, his applications for bail were repeatedly not granted.

Vargas added, “As a former Jesuit, I’m appalled that Father Stan faced relentless abuse and was denied medical treatment while in custody.

“It’s an honor to introduce this resolution as we remember Father Stan for his lifelong commitment to the greater good.”

Swamy had predicted his arrest two days before it happened. In his words, he would be arrested because he usually speaks up against the indiscriminate manner in which the government arrests thousands of aboriginal people and local settlers who question big business projects. Consequently, their lands get taken away from them.

“During the past three decades I have tried to identify myself with the Adivasi (aboriginal) people and their struggle for a life of dignity and self-respect.

“As a writer, I have tried to analyze the different issues they are faced with. In this process, I have clearly expressed dissent with several policies, laws enacted by the government in light of the constitution.”

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