In New Delhi, some 200 people gathered at downtown Jantar Mantar to observe the National Day of Solidarity for Father Stan Swamy.
Prominent human rights activists such as Shabanam Hashmi, Harsh Mander and Apoorvanand Jha addressed the gathering. According to them, the government has exposed itself by arresting a Jesuit priest who has worked for the rights of poor tribal communities for more than three decades.
India Matters India Medha Patkar of Narmada Bachao Andolan (save Narmada campaign), who joined the program through Zoom meeting, said her heart beats for Father Stan, who “worked for Atmanirbhar Adivasi” (self-reliant Tribal).
At Guwahati in Assam, the gateway to northeastern India, an ecumenical program was organized to show solidarity with Father Swamy. The participants demanded immediate release of the Jesuit priest all Intellectuals and activists who have been arrested for standing with the poor and the marginalized.
India_Matters India-Guwahati meeting Intellectuals, editors, politicians from the Northeast also had a virtual meeting that attracted over a hundred participants to express their solidarity with Father Swamy and other human rights activists who appear to be arbitrarily implicated by the law enforcement agencies, in what is being seen in liberal circles as an effort to intimidate those who speak up.
In Bengaluru, capital of the southern Indian State of Karnataka, large number of people cutting across religions, formed a 3-kilometer human chain against what they described as “the illegal treatment and arrest of Father Stan Swamy.”
In Kochi, Kerala, various Christian denominations on October 11 demanded the release of Father Swamy, who was arrested in what they called “in gross violation of human rights and democratic norms.”
In a statement, the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council expressed shock at the arrest of the Jesuit priest.
In Patna, Bihar, many social and human rights organizations joined a protest rally to express solidarity with Father Swamy. Some hundred people waved posters and chanted for the release of the priest, who they said was legally ‘abdu-cted’ by the NIA on trumped up charges.