THRISSUR, India (CNS) — Jesuit Father Stan Swamy, 84, jailed on dubious terrorism charges since October, died July 5 at Holy Family Hospital in Mumbai. He had been moved to the hospital from jail in late May, under orders from a local court.
Dr. Ian D’Souza, medical director of Holy Family Hospital, said Father Swamy had a heart attack early July 4. He was put on a ventilator and never regained consciousness. Father Swamy had Parkinson’s disease, and D’Souza said, “he had pulmonary infection, post COVID-19 complications in the lungs and pneumonia.”
The National Investigation Agency cited India’s anti-terrorism law when it arrested Father Stanislaus Arulswamy, known by his shortened name “Stan Swamy,” in Ranchi Oct. 8. The agency accuse the Jesuit, who worked for decades speaking out for the rights of oppressed Indigenous tribals in Jharkhand state, of being part of a political conspiracy with Maoist rebels to destabilize the federal government.
Soon after his arrest, the priest was airlifted to in Mumbai and put in the Taloja jail with 15 other social activists, academics and lawyers charged under the same law.
The All India Catholic Union reaffirmed demands for a judicial inquiry into the priest’s jailing and death. “In jail, with his health failing with advanced states of Parkinson’s disease, he was denied basic human dignity and facilities, including a simple water sipper, as he could no longer hold a cup in his trembling hands,” the union said in a statement.
It noted that one of Father Swamy’s last messages from jail was: “What is happening to me is not something unique, happening to me alone. It is a broader process that is taking place all over the country. We are all aware how prominent intellectuals, lawyers, writers, poets, activists, student leaders — they are all put in jail just because they have expressed their dissent. … I am ready to pay the price, whatever it may be.”
Father Stanislaus D’Souza, Jesuit provincial of South Asia, told Catholic News Service from New Delhi: “Father Stan stood up for the poor tribals, lived among them and led a simple life like them. We pray his life and his death in (this) extraordinary situation will be inspiration for all those who work for justice.”
Father D’Souza said Father Swamy’s funeral would be held in Mumbai under COVID-19 protocols.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103