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regular-article-logo Thursday, 20 June 2024

Drive to seek justice for Stan Swamy

We will be starting campaigns from February in almost all those cities of Jharkhand where Father had been active, says CPI leader

Animesh Bisoee Jamshedpur Published 29.01.23, 03:15 AM
Stan Swamy.

Stan Swamy. File picture

Members of Shahid Father Stan Swamy Nyay Morcha (formed in 2021 to carry forward the legacy of the deceased Jesuit priest) will launch a signature campaign across major cities of Jharkhand in February, demanding a probe and action against federal agencies responsible for planting documents in Father Stan Swamy’s computers.

“We will be starting signature and public outreach campaigns in almost all those cities of Jharkhand where Father Stan Swamy had been active such as Jamshedpur, Ranchi, Bokaro, Dhanbad, Chaibasa, Daltonganj and around 1,000 villages from February. We aim to gather nearly one lakh signatures and submit copies to President Droupadi Murmu in April demanding a fair probe in the light of Arsenal Consulting’s findings that alleged serious manoeuvring of evidence, especially in the electronic devices of Stan Swamy and action against those federal agencies responsible for the murder of the Jesuit priest and tribal rights activist,” said CPI leader and member of the Morcha, Bhubaneswar Kewat.

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A Jharkhand delegation had in December last year submitted a memorandum addressed to the President through governor Ramesh Bais, seeking further investigation into the Bhima Koregaon case.

The memorandum was submitted in the wake of the latest findings by US-based digital forensic firm Arsenal Consulting that alleged serious manoeuvring of evidence, especially in the electronic devices of Stan Swamy, the accused human rights activist in the case.

The NIA had accused 84-yearold Stan Swamy of being a member of the banned CPI (Maoist) and conspiring to overthrow the Union government.

Swamy was arrested in the case in October 2020 from Bagaicha in Namkum near Ranchi and was lodged in a jail in Mumbai.

Suffering from Parkinson’s disease and several other ailments, he was shifted to a private hospital in May 2021, where he died following a cardiac arrest in July 2021, waiting for the trial in the case to begin. He had also contracted Covid-19 while in prison.

Despite his multiple ailments and requests to the courts to be allowed to stay with his own people, he was not granted medical bail.

The Arsenal Consulting, in its report published in The Washington Post last year, states that the digital evidence used to arrest Stan Swamy in the Bhima Koregaon case was planted into his computer’s hard drive.

The report follows previous reports which documented planting digital evidence in the devices of co-defendants Rona Wilson and Surendra Gadling in the same case.

Forensic analysis has shown that the hackers who attacked Father Stan’s computer are the ones who had attacked Wilson and Gadling, the memorandum says.

“We have also formed a team which will be taking up with Khunti district authorities for recovery of personal items and articles of Father Stan, taken away during Pathalgarhi agitation by the Khunti police. If they do not accede to our demands, we will seek legal recourse,” said Kewat.

Apart from this, it was decided to hold an agitation on the death anniversary of Father Swamy on July 5 at Raj Bhawan.

On Friday, Stan Swamy was awarded posthumously in Tamil Nadu. Society for Community Organisation Trust, Madurai, awarded him with Justice VR Krishna Iyer Award for social justice and human rights crusade. The award was presented by the editor and publisher of Tamil political investigative journal Nakkheeran, Nakkeeran R. R. Gopal and it was collected by Jesuit priests Father Paul Michael Raj and Father Santhanam. The award comprised a citation and a medal.

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