Opposition Leaders, Jharkhand CM Come Out Strongly In Support Of Stan Swamy, Demand Immediate Release.

Leaders of Opposition demanded for repealing of UAPA and spoke in support of activist Stan Swamy, who has been booked under the stringent law. They asked the public to come out and oppose the central government’s ‘efforts to take away rights of citizens’. Stan Swamy was arrested from his residence in Ranchi on October 8 up by National Investigation Agency (NIA) officers in connection with the 2018 Koregaon-Bhima case. Two days earlier, on October 6, Swamy had come out with a video alleging NIA was after him and he was being pressurized to go to Mumbai. Activists and political leaders condemned the arrest, while also stressing that Swamy is now in jail and is a patient of Parkinson’s disease and suffering from other health problems.

On Wednesday, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren accused the NDA government at the centre of silencing voices of those speaking for the Adivasis, Dalits and other marginalised groups, and said that non-BJP ruled states are being harassed. He added that the step was forcing them to ponder about the future of the country when someone like Stan Swamy is arrested who has been working in Jharkhand for years, in the remote faraway villages, wandering in the jungles so that Adivasis, Dalits and minority populations could be reached out to. He called upon Opposition parties across India to unite against the ‘fascist’ approach and ‘oppressive’ policies of the NDA-led government in the Centre.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, as well as the DMK’s Kanimozhi, urged civil society groups and the public to break their silence over government’s attacks on the rights of people. They said that if we accept this, then in a few years we will not see a democratic India as we know. Sitaram Yechury alleged that the UAPA has been grossly misused like POTA and the law needed to be removed. He said that the arrests are not isolated cases but are part of an agenda to establish a Hindutva Rashtra. Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor came out in support of Swamy, stating that he deserves respect and support and not a jail term.

16 people have been arrested under UAPA in the case including three cultural activists of Kabir Kala Manch – Ramesh Gaichor, Sagar Ghogre and Jyoti Jagtap – and thinker, writer Anand Teltumbde, Gautam Navlakha, Shoma Sen, Hany Baby, lawyers, Sudha Bharadwaj, Surendra Gadling, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira, who are all trade unionists and activists. Sudhir Dhawale, Mahesh Raut and Rona Wilson have also been arrested.

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