The National Investigation Agency has reportedly arrested 83-year-old Jesuit priest, Stan Swamy, from his residence in Ranchi, in connection with the Bhima Koregaon Elgar Parishad case. He had been one of the people against whom a case was filed by the Pune police in connection with the Elgar Parishad case and he had been questioned by the NIA in connection with the case in August, as well.
A statement from NIA, as reported by news agency ANI, said, “Stan Swamy, a member of CPI (Maoist), was arrested by NIA yesterday from Ranchi, Jharkhand in connection with Bhima-Koregaon case. Stan Swamy received funds through an associate for furtherance of CPI (Maoist) activities. Documents related to communications for furthering the activities of CPI (Maoist) and propaganda material of the CPI (Maoist) as well as literature, seized from his possession.”
Stan Swamy had two days ago issued a statement that he was interrogated by the Pune police and subsequently the agency for around 15 hours from July 27 to July 3, and later on August 6. In the video, he says he has been implicated in the Bhima Koregaon case, a “place that I have never been to.” He also added that NIA officials then had shown him ‘extracts of information’ that were allegedly taken from his computer which “implicated his connection to Maoist forces.” He said that he had been summoned by NIA to appear for questioning in Mumbai but that he is not able to, owing to his age and the prevalent COVID-19 situation
In 2018, his home was searched by the NIA and officials had seized his computer as part of the probe into the case.
Stan Swamy is the 16th person to be arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case. Several activists have questioned the 83-year-old’s arrest.
Father Stan Swamy in his 80s has served India's tribal people selflessly, struggled with them peacefully against injustice. One by one, the state is hounding India's finest sons & daughters. Why is it so frightened of those who speak for the most oppressed?#IStandWithStanSwamy https://t.co/ZJT5x6r4JT— Harsh Mander (@harsh_mander) October 8, 2020
Like Sudha Bharadwaj, Stan Swamy has spent a lifetime fighting for the rights of adivasis. That is why the Modi regime seeks to suppress and silence them; because for this regime, the profits of mining companies take precedence over the lives and livelihoods of adivasis.— Ramachandra Guha (@Ram_Guha) October 9, 2020
The case relates to an Elgar Parishad event held on December 31, 2017, organised by the Kabir Kala Manch at Shaniwarwada in Pune, where alleged provocative speeches were made, promoting enmity between various caste groups and leading to violence resulting in the loss of life and property and a statewide agitation in Maharashtra.
Last month, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had arrested three members of Kabir Kala Manch in the Bhima Koregaon Elgar Parishad case. Sagar Tatyaram Gorkhe, 32, Ramesh Murlidhar Gaichor, 36, and Jyoti Raghoba Jagtap, 33, were arrested by the NIA in September.
All of them have been charged under provisions of anti-terror law Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and IPC sections 153 A (promoting enmity between groups), 505 (1)(b) (with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public). 117 (abetting commission of offence by the public or by more than 10 persons). They have also been charged under Sections 13 (unlawful activities), 16 (terrorist act), 18 (conspiracy), 18B (recruiting of any person or persons for terrorist act) 20 (being a member of a terrorist gang or organization) and 39 (offence relating to support given to terrorist organisation) of the UAPA.