New Delhi: A day after the death of tribal activist Stan Swamy which invited several questions from mediapersons over his treatment in custody, the Ministry of External Affairs on Tuesday (July 6) put out a statement saying that all actions taken against him were strictly in accordance with the law.
The ministry said that Father Stan Swamy was arrested and detained by the National Investigation Agency following due process under law and that because of the specific nature of charges against him, his ball applications were rejected by the courts.
“Authorities in India act against violations of law and not against legitimate exercise of rights. All such actions are strictly in accordance with the law,” MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said in a statement.
“In view of Father Stan Swamy’s ailing health, the Bombay High Court had allowed his medical treatment at a private hospital where he was receiving all possible medical attention since May 28. His health and medical treatment was being closely monitored by the courts. He passed away on July 5 following medical complications,” he added.
The spokesperson further stressed India’s democratic credentials and highlighted the country’s commitment to promotion and protection of human rights.
“India’s democratic and constitutional polity is complemented by an independent judiciary, a range of national and state level Human Rights Commissions that monitor violations, a free media and a vibrant and vocal civil society. India remains committed to promotion and protection of human rights of all its citizens,” Bagchi said.
The statement comes after the United Nations body on human rights expressed anguish over Swamy’s death. The UN body said that it was deeply saddened and disturbed by the death of 84-year-old rights activist Stan Swamy during his pre-trial detention.
“Father Stan had been held in pre-trial detention without bail since his arrest, charged with terrorism-related offences in relation to demonstrations that date back to 2018,” Liz Throssell, the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a statement.
Throssell said Swamy was a long-standing activist, particularly on the rights of indigenous people and other marginalised groups.
“High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet and the UN’s independent experts have repeatedly raised the cases of Father Stan and 15 other human rights defenders associated with the same events with the government of India over the past three years and urged their release from pre-trial detention,” she said.