Activist Stan Swamy’s property attached by Police, Mahasabha condemns the act

Must read

Ranchi: Just ahead of the Jharkhand Assembly Polls, the property of Stan Swamy at Bagaicha campus in Namkum, Ranchi has been attached by Jharkhand police. The 83-year-old activist’s property got attached by Khunti police on a case related to a Facebook post. Police considers Stan’s post as an endorsement to Pathalgadi movement.

The police did not find much in the campus and had to be content with tables, chairs, almirah and a mattress, which they took away from his room. Stan was not present in the campus at that time.

The attachment was in connection with a sedition case filed against him and 19 other activists of Jharkhand in July 2018, over their Facebook posts in which they questioned state excesses in villages that conducted Pathalgadi and attack on Adivasi rights.

Mahasabha issued a press statement and mentioned, “The posts have been framed as evidence of these activists’ endorsement of the Pathalgadi movement in Khunti in the particular FIR. Among other sections, they have been booked under 66A of the Information Technology Act 2000, which was repealed by the Supreme Court in 2015.”

Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JJM), an umbrella body of civil society groups  condemned the police action and claimed that the action was taken by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led government was in haste, with the intention of polarising the voters of Jharkhand, ahead of election,

Mahasabha issued a press statement and mentioned, “The posts have been framed as evidence of these activists’ endorsement of the Pathalgadi movement in Khunti in the particular FIR. Among other sections, they have been booked under 66A of the Information Technology Act 2000, which was repealed by the Supreme Court in 2015.”

The Mahasabha members had also conducted fact finding work in Pathalgadi areas, during which they found evidences related to severe repression and violence in the Pathalgadi villages. Thousands of Adivasis have been wrongly charged with sedition.

It added, “The attachment of Stan’s belongings just two days before the hearing, while the matter was being debated in the High Court, indicates an attempt is being made by the police to ensure that Stan’s appeal for quashing of arrest warrant becomes infructuous.”

In August 2018, Stan Swamy and three others (Aloka Kujur, Rakesh Roshan Kiro and Vinod Kumar) challenged the FIR in the Ranchi High Court and requested for its quashing. During the High Court hearing, the district court of Khunti, based on the prayers of the local police, issued an arrest warrant against them (under section 73 of IPC) on 19 June 2019.

Mahasabha also raised question on the legality of warrant itself. It said that such a warrant can only be issued if it is proved that the accused is hiding or trying to evade arrest. Before the warrant was issued, neither did the Khunti police visit the residences of Stan and others to inquire if he they were present nor not, nor did police send any notice. This raises questions on the legality of the warrant itself, claimed Mahasabha.

khunti police activist stan swamy jharkhand pathalgadi
The post of Stan Swamy which has been used by police as endorsement for Pathalgadi supporters

Interestingly, just a week before the warrant was issued, Stan’s room was raided by the Maharashtra police, in the presence of Jharkhand police, in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon case (He along with ten other national activists).

His presence at Bagaicha during the raid was reported widely reported in the media. And yet, the Khunti police got an arrest warrant issued in a week. Following the warrant notice, the four persons filed an interlocutory application in the High Court to quash it.

Subsequently, on 22 July 2019, the Khunti court, as prayed by the police and declared Stan as an absconder. He subsequently appealed for quashing this order. On 24 September, the notice for attachment of his property was issued.

“The irony of the Khunti police declaring Stan an absconder, even though he fully cooperated with the Maharashtra police in their investigations (and was available at his residence) in the same period was raised by his lawyer at the High Court. The government lawyer asked for additional time when he was asked by the Court to explain this paradox. He was asked to justify the state’s orders, regarding the arrest warrant and declaring Stan an absconder, on the next hearing scheduled for 23 October,” the press communiqué read.

It added, “The attachment of Stan’s belongings just two days before the hearing, while the matter was being debated in the High Court, indicates an attempt is being made by the police to ensure that Stan’s appeal for quashing of arrest warrant becomes infructuous.”

For the past several decades, Stan has been working for the rights of Adivasis and other underprivileged groups in Jharkhand. Among other issues, he works on displacement caused due to forced acquisition of land, the condition of undertrials and implementation of PESA.

According to his colleagues and friends, Stan is an exceptionally gentle, honest and public-spirited person.

FOLLOW US

4,474FansLike
280FollowersFollow
765FollowersFollow
2,330SubscribersSubscribe

Editor's choice

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest News