Maharashtra Police Once Again Raids The Residence Of Stan Swamy

Stan Swamy

Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha condemns repeated raids on Stan Swamy and arrests of other human rights activists

Today, at around 7:15 am, an eight-member team of the Maharashtra police once again raided the Bagaicha campus in Namkum near Ranchi, the residence of 83-year old Stan Swamy, a well-known activist of Jharkhand. The police searched Stan Swamy’s belongings for about 3.5 hours. It took Stan Swamy’s hard disk and internet modem and forced him to give his email and Facebook passwords. Thereafter, they changed the passwords and seized these accounts. The Maharashtra police had raided Stan Swamy’s residence last year as well on 28 August 2018 as well.

Stan works for the rights of Adivasis and other underprivileged groups in the state. Among other issues, he works on displacement, corporate loot of resources, the condition of undertrials and PESA. Stan has been a vocal critic of the government’s attempts to amend land laws and the land acquisition act in Jharkhand, and a strong advocate of the Forest Rights Act, PESA and related laws. He is an exceptionally gentle, honest and public-spirited person. Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha has the highest regard for him and his work

The Mahasabha is shocked by the intimidation and arrests of activists and public intellectuals who are critical of the government and the ruling party at the Centre. Last year, Surendra Gadling, Sudhir Dhawale, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen, and Rona Wilson were arrested on 6 June 2018, and they continue to be held imprisoned in the Yerwada Central Jail. On 28 August 2018, the police arrested five more activists – Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Varavara Rao and Gautam Navlakha. They too are yet to be released. These imprisonments are nothing but an attempt by the government to strike terror among those who are fighting for the rights of the marginalised.

The central government and media houses close to the BJP claim that the human rights activists were part of a Maoist conspiracy related to the Bhima-Koregaon incident. This concocted story seems to be part of a larger propaganda, based on terms like “urban naxals”, aimed at stifling any criticism of the government. The raids and arrests are part of the government’s growing attempts to stifle dissent and intimidate those who are fighting for justice.

Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha demands an immediate end to the raids, dropping of all false charges against human rights activists across the country and release of those who are arrested. These harassments are politically motivated and wholly unjustified.

For further information, please write at [email protected] or contact Soloman (8757690775), Aloka Kujur (8986683426), B B Choudhary (7838001177) or Siraj Dutta (9939819763).

PUCL Statement on Illegal Raid of Maharashtra Police on Fr. Stan Swamy in Jharkhand

PUCL strongly condemns the early morning raid today (12th June) by Maharashtra – Pune police in the residence of 83 year old Father Stan Swamy at Bagaicha Campus in Namkum, Ranchi, Jharkhand. The Maharashtra police allegedly conducted the raid and search without obtaining judicial search warrant and seized his computer’s hard disk, internet modem and other storage devices and forced him to give his gmail and Facebook passwords. It needs to be pointed out that the Maharashtra police had already conducted a raid on his residence several times last year.

The stated objective of the Maharashtra police of seizing and collecting evidence against Stan Swamy does not bear scrutiny as the same police force had already collected all available electronic and other evidence during their search last year. The objective is thus very clearly to intimidate, scare and frighten all others – rights activists, democratically minded groups and concerned citizens – from extending any type of support to Stan Swamy and others. These activists have for some years now been opposing state terrorism let loose in Jharkhand by a corrupt mafia of corrupt police and government officials, greedy politicians and vested Corporate interests who have been attempting to grab valuable forest lands belonging to the Adivasis so as to plunder and appropriate very valuable forest and common resources such as minerals, forest wealth, land, water and other common resources.

Fr. Stan Swamy has been diligently documenting the illegal actions of the state police and security forces brazenly violating all laws, arresting and imprisoning hundreds of local adivasis, extensive use of torture and numerous other rights violations.

The continued harassment, intimidation and terrorization of Father Stan Swamy is part of the same tactics used by the Maharashtra – Pune police, with the support of the Central government, to illegally arrest other rights activists like Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Fereira, Varavara Rao and detain Gautam Navalakha and Anand Teltumbde in the infamous Bhima Koregaon case. The aim is clearly to strike terror in the hearts of any citizen from criticizing the anti-people, undemocratic, brazenly illegal actions of the BJP led government in Maharashtra and the Centre and in Jharkhand too by dubbing such activists as “urban naxals” thereby creating fear in the minds of ordinary people from raising their voices against open, brazen and defiant abuse of law by the police.

PUCL demands an immediate end to the abuse of law by the Maharashtra police which is launching a witch hunt to ensnare and entrap many more activists in criminal prosecutions. PUCL also demands an immediate release of all the 9 activists arrested so far in the Bhima Koregaon case and dropping of plans to arrest some others.

Mr. Ravi Kiran Jain,
National President, PUCL

Dr. V. Suresh,
National General Secretary, PUCL


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