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Stanislaus Lourduswamy: The curiously, lacerated case of citizens, reality and media

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Nandagopal Sathish
Nandagopal Sathish
Currently pursuing an Integrated Masters in Physics

Language influences thought and action. The words we use to describe things and people, to ourselves and others, can actually lead to modifying the way we and the others think, speak and act. This influence of language can go either ways — leading to a positive, inclusive understanding of how things work around us, or leads to a radical, exclusive understanding of ideas.

The media, specifically the Indian “Left Liberal” media, effectively knows how to tweak these words to create a narrow minded picture in your brain. It uses parts of speech, especially adjectives and adverbs, in such meticulous ways that certain notions or certain images of things and their perceptions, glue on to your neural cells pretty much faster. For example: (i) frail, octogenarian tribal activist ; (ii) poet-writer activist in his 80’s; (iii) misguided youth and son of a headmaster

All of these well curated words may patch in your brain, the ideas of a meek, fragile, distressed, lonely, under developed, less cognitively capable individual who doesn’t have the ability to take his own decisions. But things needn’t always be like that.

Well, so that’s how it goes with the Indian media, nicely trying to focus on some aspects of the news and leaving out the rest, in order to imprint only some parts of the news into your brains.

Yesterday, Stanislaus Lourduswamy, commonly known as Stan Swamy passed away. And as usual there has been an outcry over his death on social media, with people blaming the NIA and the Central Government (of course) for not taking care of him properly while he was in their custody. Some even calling his death as a “custodial torture”, “cold blooded murder”…

Everyone, from historian, Ramachandra Guha to Bollywood celebrities, Swara Bhasker went on a complete ranting rampage over his death. Well, its completely okay to be emotionally outrageous at this point of time. But where is the sense of responsibility while sending out a message or a tweet, which is predominantly a highly biased statement, that too on a social media platform with millions of followers?

I personally feel that the news articles that have been coming out since his death are just focusing on some aspects of the whole issue, while conveniently omitting out the rest of the plot. Also I had a few of my friends putting up “RIP” quotes for Stan Swamy on Instagram and WhatsApp, to whom I would like to dedicate this writeup specifically.

Swamy was the co conspirators along with 9 other accused (including VV Rao, Gautam Navlakha, Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves and others), of the violence that erupted at the Elgar Parishad in 2018 where lakhs of Dalits had gathered to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Bhima Koregaon. The Pune Police filed an FIR and investigated it for over 2 years, after which it was passed on to the NIA. Let me quote a few interesting observations that the NIA Court came on, while a bail request was filed for Swamy, which mostly none of the media is showing right now.

The special NIA court that refused bail to 83-year-old-Jesuit priest and activist Stan Swamy in the Elgar Parishad-Maoists links case that held that prima facie Swamy had hatched a “serious conspiracy” with members of a banned Maoist organization to create unrest in the country and to overthrow the government.

Special judge D.E. Kothalikar said, “The material placed on record thus prima facie denote that the applicant (Fr Swamy) was not only the member of banned organization Communist Party of India (Maoist) but he was carrying out activities further in the objective of the organization which is nothing but to overthrow the democracy of the nation.”

In addition, the court even went to the extent, of stating that there were material evidences which pointed out to the transfer of funds, with the help of a few letters that were shared between the “Comrades”. It said, “The material collected during the investigating would further state that the applicant had received Rs.8 lacs through Comrade Mohan, for the furtherance of the CPI (M) activities. The references made in the aforementioned letters to the members being Comrade goes to suggest that there is a force in the submissions made by the special public prosecutor that the word Comrade was being used while addressing to the member of the CPI (M).”

The court further concluded that, “There are reasonable grounds for believing that the accusation of commission of the offences punishable under chapters IV (punishment for terrorist activities) and VI (terrorist organisations) of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) against the applicant is prima facie true. Considering the express bar imposed by Section 43D 5 (no person accused with chapters IV and VI shall be released on bail) of the UAPA, the applicant cannot be released on bail.”

If this doesn’t open up your conscience, let me present to you more facts.

A 10,000 page NIA charge sheet was presented during legal proceedings, with Stan Swamy as the central figure with the whole banned terror outfit CPI- Maoist revolving around him.

The charge sheet referred to a letter written by Swamy, in which he allegedly says, “An all-India front will not be effective. It shouldn’t just be used for propaganda against fascist forces on the ground level as it unleashed a major blitzkrieg of offensive campaigns against fascist forces. The front has to come up at village level, small town and cities, neighborhood level in urban areas with militant sections of people being organized. In order to develop the process from very beginning we should bring together most Dalit and Muslim forces that are already taking shape in some parts of country. For example, such Dalit forces are taking shape in South, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, and Muslim minority forces in Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra.”

I’ll guide you through some more interesting key points the charge sheet came up with:

  • Stan Swamy is the convener of Persecuted Prisoners Solidarity Committee (PPSC) frontal organization of the CPI-Maoists.
  • The majority of seizures from his place are the documents related to communication for furthering the activities of CPI Maoist including press releases and propaganda material.
  • The documents recovered from Stan Swamy are related to the literature of 50 years of Naxalbari, CPI-Maoist press releases, circular issued by the central committee (CC), literature on how to smuggle things (sneak it through smuggling made easier), letter to Stan Swamy from one Prashant, letter to Vijayan Dada from Stan Swamy regarding mobilizing of Adivasi and regarding concerns raised by CC, guide of encrypted data communication on GSM network, message on the celebration of the 13th anniversary of CPI-Maoist, an essential underground handbook, letter between comrades for using encryption, mini-manual of urban guerrilla, the Constitution of CPI-Maoist, documents related to the status of PLGA in excel sheet, document on strategy and tactics of Indian revolution.
  • Documents recovered during searches at Surendra Gadling on April 17, 2018 also indicate the role of Stan Swamy being discussed between letters from Comrade Sudha to Comrade Prakash.
  • A letter also instructed all SC leaders to work with “the principle of no rest, no negligence and no mercy” and to do everything possible to “disrupt the fake development propaganda disseminated by star campaigners of BJP-RSS corporate friendly family”. “Our aim should be to stop them from making inroads into tribal masses and lower middle class population.
  • In one of the letters seized from Swamy it is stated: “On the technical side the new CPI-Maoist general secretary has issued specific instructions regarding maintaining security of the communication channel. All open members who are required to contact secret members either from MO or interior must use — — — encryption.”
  • The charge sheet sums up the culmination of the Bhima Koregaon by the Elgar Parishad in the following words: A letter in Telugu dated July 2017 and addressed to Comrade Sunil from Sridhar is also mentioned where it is stated that Sudhir Dhatwalia be given responsibility about organization of programme by the name of “Brahmanical Hindu Anti Fascist Front” for furtherance of CPI-Maoist agenda. It culminated into, the NIA charge sheet says, the formation of the front Bhima Koregaon Shaurya Din Prerana Abhiyan, which resulted into organisation of Elgar Parishad Programme on December 12, 2017 at Shaniwarawada in Pune.Stan Swamy is the convener of Persecuted Prisoners Solidarity Committee (PPSC) frontal organization of the CPI-Maoists.

The number of fatalities because of Left Wing Extremism between the years 2005–2019 is approximated around 8,222 (all over India). Among this, the statistics is divided as 744 (Andhra Pradesh), 4 (Assam), 697 (Bihar), 3003 (Chhattisgarh), 1606 (Jharkhand), 31 (Karnataka), 4 (Kerala), 7 (Madhya Pradesh), 585 (Maharashtra), 801 (Odisha), 1 (Tamil Nadu), 25 (Telangana), 15 (Uttar Pradesh), 699 (West Bengal).

And with all of these statistics present, plus these clear legal proceedings which were going on, we right now have the whole opposition blaming the Centre yet again for torturing the “poor old octogenarian”, for “custodial death” and are crying for “justice and humanity”. Here was Rahul Gandhi’s tweet aftermath the death.

Really, Mr Gandhi? All that Stan Swamy was yet to embrace, was conviction and punishment for what he had done. And yet here you cry for “justice and humaneness” for the same man, who clearly had none of it. One more query, Mr Gandhi. If you really question the inhumane treatment of Stan Swamy in Taloja Central Jail, Mumbai, wouldn’t that raise a question to your own coalition government in the state? For as far as I have read, Prisons, and their administration, is a State subject covered by item 4 under the State List in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India. So wouldn’t the onus lie on you and your government if Stan Swamy was treated “inhumanely”?

Here we have, the Kerala communist state government doing something similar though the state LDF government has championed itself as the zenith of human rights values by going against the “draconian” UAPA act when the Centre uses it, the state has ironically often used the same UAPA act for over 151 cases in the last 5 years (2014–2019), also going to the extent of arresting 2 students for passing out Pro-Maoist pamphlets.

So, am I sad that Stan Swamy died? Sure I am. I am sad he didn’t live long enough to see the destruction of his own ecosystem. I am sad to know that justice in this country, comes late to the victims who become prey under people like Stan Swamy. I am ashamed to see there are people who are motivated enough to uproot a democratic government elected by the masses. And more over the citizens, who allow themselves to be blinded by truth and reality.

So, RIP Stan Swamy — the Maoist, not yet the Martyr!

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Nandagopal Sathish
Nandagopal Sathish
Currently pursuing an Integrated Masters in Physics
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