Blood on the hands: The Tribune India
Bro. Stan Swamy is a suitable candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize. I call on my readers to support my appeal to the Swedish Academy which chooses the laureates to consider his case posthumously. If the award goes to this martyred Jesuit priest of India, a representative of the Adivasi people whose rights he fought for during his now shortened life, would have to accept the honor for him.
The charges against him by a callous state were that he had danced with the banned Maoist organization operating in the forests of Jharkhand. The accusers were clearly illiterate! Jesuit priests and Marxists both work for the poor and the destitute, but in diametrically opposed ways. To understand this fundamental fact, we must grasp the real essence of the teachings of Christ, and by extension of Christianity.
Iranian-American writer and accomplished professor of comparative religions in the United States, Reza Aslan, called Jesus a “fanatic.” He concluded that Jesus was above all a rebel against injustice. Its targets were two: the Roman conquerors who ruled the land of Israel through a governor, and the Jewish clergy, the rabbinate who had made religion a business enterprise.
All of the parables Jesus used to educate his fellow Jews emphasized love, compassion, and justice, especially towards the poor and needy. No use of arms or violence has ever been advocated. In fact, the much-debated principle of turning the other cheek if one is slapped was first propagated by Jesus.
Marxist, and by extension Maoist, doctrine depends solely on weapons to combat economic injustice. Christians should also seek justice for the poor, but the methods advocated for achieving the goal of improving living standards are inherently different. Bro. Swamy had sworn obedience to the Pope and to his own Jesuit superiors. Catholic doctrine is opposed to Marxist precepts. There is no way he would join the Maoists in an enterprise where weapons were to be used against state forces or state owned property. If he had broken hierarchical orders, he would have been disciplined a long time ago. The most severe punishment would be defrocking, the sweetest expulsion from the Jesuit order. These facts must be digested by NIA investigators and prosecutors if they wish to establish the truth.
But, are they interested in the truth? Or, as I suspect, they had a purpose and that purpose was to sideline this plagued priest who stood in the way of “development.” If the imperative was to allow the exploitation of the tribal forests which required the agreement of the tribals via a prescribed procedure and Fr. Swamy was the one who came in the way, then it became necessary to get him out of the way. The masterless tribes could be conquered but not the priest who understood the tricks played by the authorities. He educated the tribals about their rights and also what was in their best interests.
The evidence accumulated against him to prove his guilt for being a Maoist and a terrorist was purely digital. Even his pre-trial detention was not requested for questioning by the NIA after his arrest. He had gathered all the material they needed to sideline him for years without trial under UAPA, the most undemocratic law that exists only in our country. The change in the law, introduced in 2019, requires immediate judicial review. The Supreme Court should take suo motu into account the state sponsored death of this kind priest to ensure justiciable laws, as they have existed in our country since ancient times.
There is a strong suspicion that the evidence cited by the NIA is concocted. US cybercrime consultants, Arsenal Consulting, and its chairman, Mark Spencer, who has been most convincing on national television, felt that the correspondence Fr. Swamy had made with the Maoists was probably planted as he did. was planted on the computer of the co-defendants Rona Wilson and Surendra Gadling. This is a serious allegation which, if proven, should lead to the dissolution of the NIA and the downfall of its political bosses.
But in the interests of justice and fair play, the testimonies of American experts must be put to the test of judicial review. India cannot afford to be condemned internationally as a country that concocts false evidence to shut down its detractors and activists for the rights of indigenous peoples. The ingenuity with which the hacker planted the false evidence can only be explained by Spencer. He says his findings have been recorded in detail and are open to scrutiny and questions from other connoisseurs.
When he was first confronted with this evidence retrieved from his computer, Fr. Swamy denied paternity. He was really puzzled. He knew he was trapped.
The other co-defendants, including Wilson, Gadling and Usha Bharadwaj, also claimed they were trapped. In the interests of justice and fair play, our legal system bears the burden of proving otherwise. Right now they are building on the new jurisprudence injected into our political system that the accused is guilty until proven innocent.
Only 2 percent of cases prosecuted under the UAPA have resulted in convictions to date. The state obviously does not care about convictions. He is more interested in the process that keeps defendants in prison for years, thus neutralizing their ability to organize viable opposition to unjust projects that deprive the poor of their rights and even their livelihoods.
In FR. Swamy’s case also robbed a sweet soul of her life!