A special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in Mumbai on Friday, 9 October, remanded 83-year-old right activist Stan Swamy to judicial custody till 23 October, PTI reported, a day after the NIA arrested him in connection with the Elgar Parishad case.
According to The Indian Express, Swamy, a Jesuit priest, was questioned in July and August and summoned to NIA’s Mumbai office earlier this week.
Further, Swamy, in a statement released on 6 October, informed the NIA that, owing to his age and the COVID-19 pandemic, he was not in a position to undertake the journey. He also reportedly informed the NIA about a Jharkhand government directive that asks senior citizens to not appear in public.
In the statement released before his arrest, Swamy had said:
“If the NIA refuses to accept my request and insists on calling me to Mumbai, I will tell them that it is not possible for me to go for the above reasons. I hope they understand these human reasons. If not, I and all of us have to be ready to bear the consequences.”
Further, Swamy had said that he could be questioned through a video link.
Swamy’s is the 16th arrest in the case.
“…what is happening to me is not unique. Many activists, lawyers, writers, journalists, student leaders, poets, intellectuals and others who stand for the rights of Adivasis, Dalits and the marginalised and express their dissent to the ruling powers of the country are being targeted.”Stan Swamy, according to The Indian Express.
According to The Indian Express, while the NIA has alleged that Swamy had Maoist links, Swamy has said that he is being falsely implicated.
In a video, that has since been doing the rounds, Swamy has said that while all this is in connection to the “Bhima Koregaon” case, he has never even gone to Bhima Koregaon.
He said that he believes the State is trying to put him out of the way, because he has been working for the Adivasis and that he had questioned the governments over land rights, representation of community members, and forest rights, reported The Indian Express.
Stan Spent a Lifetime Fighting for Adivasi Rights: Social Media Reacts
Many have taken to Twitter to condemn the 83 year old’s arrest.
(With inputs from The Indian Express.)