- The Noble laureate finds fault with judiciary too
Hyderabad: Noble laureate Amartya Sen said that the Indian government had made tribal right activist Stan Swamy’s life difficult in custody through adverse use of legal means. The 84-year old Jesuit Priest died in custody on July 5 after his bail plea was turned down several times by Bombay High Court in connection with the Bima Koregaon case.
“Stan Swamy was a philanthropist, he was working tirelessly for helping people,” Sen said in an interview with The Indian Express published on Monday. “The government instead of providing him protection, made his life more precarious, more difficult, through adverse use of legal means. One result of it was that he was in a much more fragile state than he should have been,” commented Sen.
Swamy was the oldest of 16 persons in jail in connection with Bhima-Koregaon case. They were all jailed under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), a draconian law which gives power to the police to arrest anyone they suspect and keep in jail indefinitely without charge-sheeting or trial. Stan Swamy was picked up from his residence in Ranchi, Jarkhand, some nine months ago. He requested Bombay HC to allow him to go to Ranchi since he was suffering from Parkinson’s disease and other ailments. On July 4, he had heart attack and was put on ventilator and next day he died.
Asked if the judiciary as an institution failed to protect the priest, Sen responded, “At least we need an explanation of how the judiciary failed in its protective role. Could the judiciary have helped him more? The issue that has to be examined is whether the judiciary failed to keep the excesses of the executive in check.” The rest of the activists in jail described Stan Swamy’s death as institutional murder. International rights organizations also found fault with the government and the judiciary for the death of the activist.