NE Christian forum condoles demise

GUWAHATI/SHILLONG, July 5: The United Christian Forum of North East India (UCFNEI) has condoled the demise of Jesuit priest and tribal rights activist, Father Stan Swamy, who breathed his last in a hospital in Mumbai on Monday.
“The United Christian Forum of North East India, leaders along with the entire Christian community of North East India wish to express its deep pain and anguish at the sad demise of Father Stan Swamy. He was falsely implicated, imprisoned and made to suffer because of his mission and work among the Adivasis, Dalits and other marginalised communities,” UCFNEI spokesperson, Allen Brooks said in a statement.
“As we express our deepest condolences to the family members, friends, lawyers, well-wishers and all those who stood by Fr. Stan and prayed for him during this moment of trial and suffering, we also pledge to recommit ourselves to take forward his legacy and to work for peace, justice and reconciliation,” Brooks stated.
The Catholic Association of Shillong also condoled the death of Fr Stan.
General Secretary of the Catholic Association of Shillong, Barnabas Nongbah said that he was a human rights activist who fought for the rights of the poor, oppressed and underprivileged.  The Association also said that he dared question the non implementation of Fifth Schedule of the constitution that requires the formation of a Tribes Advisory Council, the Forest Rights Act 2006 and other legislations which impoverished the poor Adivasis and tribal communities.
Power Minister James Sangma also condoled the death of Fr Stan. “Deeply saddened by the passing away of father Stan Swamy. Fr. Stan was known to be actively fighting for the rights of the oppressed & the indigenous tribes in Jharkhand. I extend my deepest sympathies to the Jesuit community & all those who were near to him,” James said in a tweet.
Chief Minister Conrad Sangma posted a photo of Fr Stan on Tweeter and condoled his death.
‘As a nation we need to condemn what happened to Father Stan’
Lok Sabha member from Tura, Agatha K Sangma has expressed shock and sadness over the death of Jesuit priest and tribal activist Father Stan Swamy and condemned the way he was treated by authorities during his arrest and imprisonment.
“The way he was treated by the NIA despite his old age and health problems , the government should have considered his condition. As a nation we need to condemn what happened to Father Stan Swami,” said Agatha Sangma while speaking to The Shillong Times on Monday.
Following Father Stan’s imprisonment by the NIA over unsubstantiated claims of links with Maoists, Agatha had written to the Union Government seeking his release and the lack of assistance provided to him while in judicial custody.
She recalled raising his imprisonment case during a meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah, but failed to solicit a response.
“During my meeting with the union home minister relating to a different matter I had raised the arrest of Father Swami and his imprisonment. There was no outcome,” lamented Agatha.
The Home Minister allegedly did not give any response when the matter was raised before him.
Given the manner in which the 84-year-old ailing priest was left languishing in prison with the authorities opposing his bail plea, Agatha said that it was time to relook at the way the system worked.
Thma U Rangli Juki (TUR) also condoled the custodial death of Fr. Stan.
TUR member Angela Rangad said that the BJP government arrested him on false charges as part of nationwide arrests of activists and intellectuals for the so called Bhima-Koregaon conspiracy.
The Meghalaya State Council of the Communist Party of India also expressed shock and grief at the death of Fr Stan and demanded the arrest of all those responsible for his death and the inhuman treatment meted out to him.

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