10/18/2020 India (International Christian Concern) – According to The Christian Post, Christian leaders in India have called for the release of an 83-year-old Jesuit priest who was arrested and charged with being a Maoist or extremist Marxist. According to church leaders, the priest was arrested for his work protecting the rights of India’s aboriginal people.
On October 8, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested Father Stan Swamy from his home in India’s Jharkhand state. Two day before the arrest, Fr. Swamy posted a video to YouTube saying he feared he would be arrested because he fought against the government’s indiscriminate arrest of thousands of young aboriginal people who protested against business projects taking their land.
The government falsely claimed these protests were part of an outlawed Maoist group’s operations. However, Fr. Swamy has documented the displacement of aboriginal people as a result of commercial projects like mining, the construction of industrial units, and the construction of dams.
“During the past three decades I have tried to identify myself with the Adivasi (aboriginal) people and their struggle for a life of dignity and self-respect,” Fr. Swamy said in the video. “As a writer, I have tried to analyze the different issues they are faced with. In the process, I have clearly expressed dissent with several policies enacted by the government in light of the Constitution.”
Christian leaders in India have express grave concern over the arrest of Fr. Swamy. They have called on the Indian government to immediately release the elderly priest.