The NECARF in a statement issued by convenor James Pochury on Saturday said it is “shocked and saddened” by the arrest of Jesuit priest, Fr. Stan Swamy SJ, who was “earlier subjected to a 15-hour interrogation by the agency”.
“The fact that the arrest came days after the interrogation, arouses suspicion that the decision to arrest him was nothing but selective targeting of a Christian priest, who, all through his life not only dedicated his selfless services to educating the youth of this country, regardless of religion, but also stand for what is just and fair for the dispossessed and marginalised Indian citizens,” the statement said.
Fr. Stanley is one of those rare human rights defenders who speak up for the rights of the voiceless poor, dalits, women and indigenous peoples (adivasis), the forum claimed.
“By selective targeting of a law-abiding prominent Christian, it appears to be an attempt to distract and divert people’s attention from multiple crises the country is currently witnessing – political, diplomatic, economic and social insecurity,” it said.
The forum also claimed the charges levelled against Fr. Stan Swamy by Pune Police under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967 (UAPA) as “false” and “defamatory”.
NECARF said charges framed by Pune Police against Fr. Stan Swamy in the Bhima Koregaon case, labelling him as an “urban naxalite” and “accusing him of plotting the assassination of the Prime Minister are patently false and defamatory”.
NECARF has appealed to the Indian government to intervene and ensure the early release of Fr. Stan Swamy.