'Stan Swamy was fearless, fought for rights of poor tribals': Father Frazer Mascarenhas

Mascarenhas said Stan Swamy in the last few days was feeling confident that things would get better for him and his co-accused.

Published: 07th July 2021 09:14 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th July 2021 10:31 AM   |  A+A-

People hold posters next to candles outside a church holding memorial mass for Stan Swamy in Mumbai.

People hold posters next to candles outside a church holding memorial mass for Stan Swamy in Mumbai. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

MUMBAI: Stan Swamy was fond of the word ‘comrade’ and wanted to spread peace and connect every community with selfless service, says Father Frazer Mascarenhas who was associated with the Jesuit in his last days at a Mumbai hospital. Swamy was a fearless man, said Mascarenhas. 

A funeral service for Swamy was held at St. Peter’s Church in suburban Bandra on Tuesday. The 84-year-old was an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case. He was treated in Holy Family hospital where he died on Monday afternoon.

Mascarenhas said Swamy in the last few days was feeling confident that things would get better for him and his co-accused. “Stan wanted to construct a bridge of communication with every community. He was always worried about the vulnerable sections of the society, particularly the tribals. He told me that the good things in the Constitution needed implementation, especially for tribals. The community is unaware of its rights. He said more than 3,000 tribals were arrested under the wrong laws for fighting for their rights. He wanted each of them freed,” he said.

ALSO READ | Stan Swamy: Messiah for hundreds of undertrials died as one

Mascarenhas said during his treatment in the ICU, one day he told him that he wanted to donate his body. “Stan always wanted to help someone till his last breath. He looked for every opportunity to help someone.”

“Stan had spoken to his lawyers a few days before his death and felt confident that they were doing all they could to ensure justice for him and the co-accused in the Elgar Parishad case.  When he entered the Holy Family hospital, I told him the people across the world were praying for him.” While a small funeral service was held at the church, several people, priests, lawyers, human rights activists and some family members joined the funeral online. The church authorities said Swamy’s body would be cremated in Mumbai after completing certain formalities and his ashes will be taken to Ranchi and Jamshedpur in Jharkhand.

North East Bishops Council condoles death

The North East India Regional Bishops’ Council (NEIRBC) on Tuesday condoled the death of Jesuit priest and tribal rights activist Stan Swamy. “We fail to understand why an 84-year-old social worker, greatly weakened by diverse ailments, could not get a bail for a case in which he claimed absolute innocence,” NEIRBC Deputy Secretary Fr GP Amalraj said in a statement.

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