Stan Swamy SJ: Jesuit human rights activist dies at 84

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We are deeply saddened to hear that Fr. Stan Swamy SJ, human rights activist and Jesuit priest, passed away on Monday, July 5. The 84 year old activist died in the hospital while waiting for bail.

 

Stan Swamy SJ, the oldest person to be accused of terrorism in India, was arrested in October 2020. He spent the last eight months in Mumbai’s Tajola jail, despite the multiple bail appeals on medical grounds being rejected by the India court.

The Jesuit priest, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease, was moved to a private hospital in May after he tested positive for Covid-19. There, he was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. Fr. Stan was awaiting the outcome of the Court judgment, but his health deteriorated as he was quite debilitated, both owing to COVID symptoms and his stressful condition.  Stan Swamy SJ has suffered significantly as a result of his last nine months at Taloja prison. Last Sunday, July 4, Stan Samy SJ had trouble breathing and had to be put on a ventilator.

Stan Swamy SJ was among 15 renowned activists, academics and lawyers, who were charged under a draconian anti-terror law. Swamy had repeatedly denied the charges, saying he was being targeted for his work related to the caste and land struggles of tribespeople in Jharkhand state. During a career spanning more than 20 years, he fought for the rights of indigenous tribes or adivasis in Jharkhand.

“This is a sad and unnecessary loss of life”

“This is a sad and unnecessary loss of life after much suffering that included illness, lies, manipulation, false accusation, media abuse, restriction of freedom, religious intolerance – to name a few. However, the death of Fr. Swamy also calls us to an increase in our hope: the cause for Fr. Stan has united in their mission of justice not only the Jesuits but many friends, collaborators, public servants, entire organisations and more. It has allowed us to join in prayer, publish on the topic extensively, denounce injustice and stay defiant while humble in front of the question and actions of evil.

May the death of Fr. Stan and his courageous witness bring life and encouragement to many through justice, reconciliation and compassion” Peter Rožič SJ, JESC’s Director wrote.

From JESC we would like to give our condolences to Fr. Stan’s family and India’s Jesuits in particular. Our deepest sympathy.

 

 


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The legacy of Stan Swamy SJ continues. You can read more here.