Letters 12 July 2021
The article by Peter deSouza on the death of Fr. Stan Swamy (5 July 2021) moved me a lot, touching my emotional chords. I agree with what is said but we should not give up hope. We should not lapse into a state of "pain and anguish", with which the article ends.
Let's give shape to our "anger" by organizing an agitation demanding punishment of (i) the NIA officials who ordered Stan Swamy's arrest on false charges; (ii) the jail officials and warders of Taloja jail who denied him medical facilities; and, more importantly, (iii) the errant judges who repeatedly denied him bail.
Fr. Stan Swamy himself, perhaps could have forgiven these torturers of his. But what about our responsibility as Indian citizens to uphold the rights of people like him, and punish those (members of both the executive and the judiciary) who violate those rights which are guaranteed by the Indian Constitution?
I raise two issues in this context: (i) the need for the punishment of the guilty, which can act as a deterrent to the repetition of similar crimes in future by officials and jail administrators as well as judges who sanction such crimes; and (ii) the need for retributive justice, for the Adivasi poor who have been left orphans after the killing of Fr. Stan Swamy who fought for their rights all through his life.
This soliloquy of Professor deSouza (5 July 2021) churns your conscience, makes you feel in your heart of hearts: how diminished we are! Do we have the courage “to step outside ourselves to do something bold?”
Peter deSouza's reflections on Stan Swamy's death are very poignant. I too feel strongly that we are involved in the death of Fr Stan either by commission or omission. There is hardly any justice in our legal system. One cannot expect it. The talk about the values of our ancient culture is a farce.