Activists, politicians gather at Bagaicha, vow to take Stan’s ‘fight’ forward
During a memorial service organised at Bagaicha on Thursday, Father Stan Swamy’s family, friends and members of civil societies pitched for withdrawal of the Unlawful Activities (Protection) Act, saying that the central government has been “using it to silence the voice of dissent.”
Bagaicha is a social action centre set up by Swamy, who died while undergoing treatment at Mumbai Hospital on July 5.
The memorial service was also attended by political leaders from the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Congress and the Left parties. Participants pledged to take the work done by Father Stan Swamy for the rights of tribals forward.
“The UAPA is an old law, but it was never unleashed on the citizens this way since the Modi government came to power. They are using it to silence citizens, especially against those who raise the voice of dissent. The temperament of this government is the same as those of the British. They killed Birsa (Munda) in jail, now Swamy has been killed similarly,” said Dayamani Barla, noted tribal rights activist.
Booked under sections of UAPA, Swamy was sent to jail in October 2020 over terror charges by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence case.
Underlining how Swamy was a voice for the marginalised, Barla recalled how he played a crucial role in movements against the amendment of the CNT/SPT Act, anti-conversion bill, land acquisition amendment Act and mob lynching incidents in the state.
While speaking at the event, senior JMM leader and legislator Stephen Marandi described Swamy’s death as “murder” and called for a continuous fight to give the right tribute to Swamy.
“It was a conspiracy. This has now become an international issue. We need to take lessons from this incident as it will continue to happen and we need to expose this conspiracy using all possible means. As a political party, we will continue to expose the government,” added Marandi.
Congress legislator Rajesh Kachhap, under whose constituency Bagaicha is located, shared similar views. “Our real tribute would be if we continued his fight for the cause of tribals, dalits, minorities and the poor,” he added.
However, activist Gladston Kandulna blamed the parties like Congress and the JMM for the prevailing scenario. “We should not forget it was the Congres that brought the UAPA in 1967. If they are true to this fight, the JMM government should immediately withdraw the industrial policy it approved two days back,” he said.