We remember a brave Jesuit - Stan Swamy

July 5, 2022

Campaigners have marked one year since the death of an Indian Jesuit priest, with a vigil outside the Indian High Commission.

On 5th July 2022, the Jesuit community and their friends in London and around the world marked the death of Fr Stan Swamy SJ, a Jesuit priest who died in hospital a year ago aged 84, after being detained by the Indian government following his work with vulnerable minorities.

Fr Stan was arrested in October 2020 and accused of plotting terrorism offences, including instigating caste violence and supporting an extremist Maoist group. None of the allegations were true. In fact, Fr Stan devoted his life to helping the very poorest in India society, particularly those on the margins, such as the Adivasi people. He was critical of attempts by the government and mining companies to take away and exploit common land from the Adivasi, without their consent.

Following Fr Stan’s arrest, he was detained in Taloja prison in Mumbai, despite suffering from Parkinson’s Disease and other ailments. During this time, his health deteriorated rapidly to the point where he could not eat or bathe by himself, but the authorities continued to refuse him bail and ignored calls for him to be given proper healthcare. He died in hospital after contracting Covid in prison.

There was widespread outrage at Fr Stan’s death in custody – but the fight for justice for those communities whom he championed goes on.

Jesuit Missions calls on all those concerned with justice in India to:

- remember Fr Stan and his struggle;

- pray for him;

- take action to ensure that the rights of all communities in India are upheld.

On 5th July, Fr Stan was remembered at Mass at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm St, London W1K 3AH; campaigners then marched to the Indian High Commission, where a prayer vigil was held at 2.15pm (India House, Aldwych, London WC2B 4NA).

You can find out more about Jesuit Missions UK by clicking here.

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