Indian-American groups on Tuesday expressed grief over the death of Father Stan Swamy and described him as a social worker who dedicated his life to serving poor tribals in India.
Eighty-four-year-old Swamy, who was arrested last year under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in connection with the Elgar Parishad case, died on Monday.
The Federation of Indian American Christian Organisations of NA (FIACONA), in a statement, said he was a brave man who tirelessly worked to protect and help tribals in India.
“A simple and an unassuming man, Fr Swamy stood his ground against a system that is bent on exploiting the poor tribals and their sovereign rights to their resources,” FIACONA said.
Swamy suffered from Parkinson’s disease and several other ailments. During his custody, Swamy had also tested positive for COVID-19.
“It is a dark day for democracy in India, and the national leadership and members of the judiciary should hang their heads in shame,” said George Abraham, vice-chairman of the Indian Overseas Congress, in another statement.
“Father Swamy’s detention and treatment in prison that led to his death is a blot on the consciousness of the nation and a travesty of justice,” said Abraham.
The INOC said it is also time to remember many other human rights warriors who are still in prison.
“We can only hope the passing of Father Stan Swamy may reopen the mindset of those in power to release those on bail while awaiting charges,” it added.