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World News

Priest 'taken into custody' by Indian National Intelligence agency

by Premier Journalist

An 88-year-old Jesuit priest and long-time activist on tribal rights has been arrested from his residence in India.
 
Father Stan Swamy, was taken into custody from his home at a Jesuit owned Bagaicha social centre in Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand state by the National Intelligence Agency on 8 October, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).

In 2017, Father Swarmy attracted support from like-minded groups across different states to unite under the Persecuted Prisoners Solidarity Committee, an organisation which seeks justice for prisoners who require legal remedy.
 
In a video released a couple of days before his arrest, Father Swamy said that he had filed a case in the Jharkhand High Court on behalf of 3,000 young Adivasis.

Adivasis people belong to indigenous South Asian tribes who have been incarcerated in prison. 

Father Swamy, who also has multiple illnessess, was transported to Mumbai by plane on 9 October, where he was charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in the Sessions Court. He has been sent to Taloja Jail near Mumbai until 23 October, as reported by Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

CSW's Founder President Mervyn Thomas said: "We have grave concerns about the Indian authorities' handling of the investigation and their heavy-handed approach towards a human rights activist who has long spoken out for the rights of the tribal community. 

"We are seeing a worrying trend in India today where voices speaking out for truth and justice are being suppressed. The government either condones, or is directly responsible for unlawful and unreasonable treatment of those who speak out on violations in India.  We call on the international community to raise these issues in bilateral talks and to urge India to restore the democratic values upon which the country was built."
 

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