Father Stan Swamy, who for decades fought for tribal rights in the country's hinterlands, passed away today, months after the heartless Modi Government jailed him on fabricated charges at the age of 84. The fact that he was suffering from Parkinson's disease when he was arrested was not enough to move the agencies or the judiciary to let him live in peace.
The Elgar Parishad case will rank as one of the scariest attempts by a Government to frame activists, scholars, intellectuals and journalists using planting of evidence. Arsenal Consulting, a US-based digital forensics consulting company, had earlier this year studied the laptop of Rona Wilson, one of the jailed activists in the case. It found digital evidence that the "incriminating” letters found in Wilson’s laptop by the investigators were introduced through malware planted by a hacker. This same cooked up evidence was later used to frame a whole host of activists and intellectuals including Sudha Bharadwaj, Anand Teltumbde, Gautam Navlakha, Hanybabu, three members of Kabir Kala Manch (Jyoti Raghoba Jagtap, Sagar Gorkhe, Ramesh Gaichor), and Father Stan Swamy.
Despite the revelations earlier this year, the Indian judiciary is yet to look at this fabricated case in the light of these revelations. They have also been slow, and insensitive and unjust, in denying bail to the accused, many of whom have serious health issues. Even Stan Swamy's request for a straw and a sipper, since he suffers from Parkinson's, was kept waiting for more than a month. Nowhere in a civilised, modern democracy would such events happen. But it happened in "new" India.
Just before his arrest, this is what Stan Swamy said - "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, students, leaders, they are all put into jail because they have expressed their dissent or raised questions about the ruling powers of India. We are part of the process. In a way I am happy to be part of this process. I am not a silent spectator, but part of the game, and ready to pay the price whatever be it."
And he has paid the price for being honest, upright and for asking questions. Those who are supposed to ask those questions, the national mainstream media, will remain silent today too, just like every other day. Meanwhile, the establishment's trolls will be busy branding him as a terrorist. They all, right from the pompous emperor to the IT cell minion, have too much blood by now on their hands..