Shiv Sena asks Centre if Father Stan Swamy was capable of overthrowing state
The Shiv Sena on Sunday condemned the death of Father Stan Swamy, who breathed his last at a Mumbai hospital last week while in police custody on terror related charges in the Bhima Koregaon violence case, and wondered whether a physically challenged 84-year old activist from Jharkhand had the capacity to conspire to overthrow the state.
Swamy died on July 5, 2021, close to nine months after National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested him from his Ranchi home alleging he was involved in January 2018 Bhima Koregaon violence. Swamy was booked under stringent anti-terror law, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
“Stan Swamy wanted to spend his last days with his colleagues in Jharkhand but this was not possible as he was charged by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) of terror and anti-national activities. Are the foundations of this country so weak that it can be overthrown by a physically challenged 84-year old man?,” Sena Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament (MP) Sanjay Raut wrote in his weekly editorial Rokthok, in party mouthpiece Saamana.
Raut said that while the prominent activists arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case were guilty of provocative speeches before the violence on January 2, it required investigation to prove if they were actually conspiring against the nation.
“It is true that provocative speeches were made at Bhima Koregoan meet and after that there was large scale violence. In this apart from Swamy, Sudha Bharadwaj, Varavara Rao and Gautam Navlakha were arrested. It’s true that they are rebellious in nature and always express their anger in various forms. But whether they had conspired against the nation needs to be investigated,” said Raut.
Raut said that Swamy had dedicated his life for uplifting the tribals in Jharkhand through education and making them aware of their rights.
He said it was ironic that Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose to talk to Kashmir leaders who have been advocating the reintroduction of Article 370 while activists like Swamy died in a prison cell.
While questioning the application of anti-terror laws against people like Swamy, Raut recalled that former Union minister late George Fernandes was also charged with sedition by the then Indira Gandhi government for opposing her. “Is raising voice for the tribals and fighting for their rights an anti-national activity? How can raising voice against injustice be termed as sedition,” questioned Raut.