The death of Father Stan Swamy has taught “minorities to be alive” and unite or else “your voice will not be heard,” says Bishop Paritosh Canning of Calcutta Church of North India diocese.
Father Stan, a Jesuit priest and tribal rights activist, died in judicial custody in July while waiting for bail. He was 84 and ailing.
Reverend Canning said Father Stan was a Christian priest but his work was “not only for Christians” but for “the tribals who are down-trodden,” in one way “minori-ty,” and he came forward to give them “new life” and tell them they had rights in their own land. Father Stan was condemned so that “tribals do not know their rights,” said Bishop Canning.
On August 5, the Bengal Christian Council, affiliated to the National Council of Churches in India, had called a meeting in remembrance of Father Stan. At the event at St Paul’s Cathedral, a minority forum was inaugurated with a call to all minorities to come together.
Speaking on the occasion, Bishop Canning said: “They (the tribals) should not be like us, they will be like tribals all the time. They will be like servants lifelong… This is the cause why Fr Stan… was kill-ed. It was not a normal death.”