US lawmakers push India for probe into Stan Swamy’s death

According to the resolution, Father Stan played a key role in the Pathalgadi movement, a significant Adivasi movement in contemporary India….reports Asian Lite News

Three American lawmakers have introduced a resolution in the US House of Representatives, urging India to conduct an independent investigation into the arrest, incarceration, and death of human rights activist Father Stan Swamy, who died in custody on July 5, 2021.

The resolution, introduced by Congressman Juan Vargas along with lawmakers Jim McGovern and Andre Carson, expresses concern over the alleged misuse of anti-terror laws to target human rights defenders and political opponents.

The resolution also commends a recent ruling by the Supreme Court of India to suspend a controversial colonial-era sedition law and urges India’s Parliament to make this suspension permanent.

It emphasizes that freedom of expression is a fundamental human right as enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948.

“Father Stan dedicated his life to giving a voice to the voiceless. He was a tireless advocate for the rights of the indigenous Adivasi people, trained young community leaders, and worked for justice for many communities in India,” said Vargas.

“As a former Jesuit, I am horrified that Father Stan faced relentless abuse and was denied medical care while in custody. I introduced this resolution to ensure that Father Stan and his lifelong commitment to the greater good are never forgotten.”

Father Stanislaus Lourduswamy, known as Father Stan, was born on April 26, 1937, in Viragalur, a village in the Tiruchirappalli district of Tamil Nadu, India. Inspired by Jesuit priests from an early age, he began studying theology in 1957.

According to the resolution, Father Stan played a key role in the Pathalgadi movement, a significant Adivasi movement in contemporary India. This movement used Adivasi stone carving traditions to spread information among Adivasi communities about their constitutional rights.

“During his decades in Jharkhand, Father Stan advocated for and raised awareness about the implementation of provisions of the Indian Constitution, such as the Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) or PESA Act, which instituted self-governance for people living in Adivasi lands,” the resolution stated.

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