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Fr. Stan Swamy

Fr. Stan Swamy

HRD Article

82-year-old Stan Swamy, suspect in Bhima Koregaon case, ‘appeals to nation’s conscience’

Fr. Stan Swamy is an indigenous people’s rights defender. He is the founder of Vistapan Virodhi Janvikash Andolan (VVJA), an all India platform for different movements that are resisting displacement of adivasi people, dalits, and farmers from their lands. The organisation has supported the vulnerable communities in securing their land rights and proposing sustainable development models instead. In the past, he has expressed dissent with several policies and laws enacted by the government relating to adivasi people and their lands. He has questioned their validity and legality in the light of the Indian Constitution.

Human rights defenders in India face a diverse range of attacks and harassment from state and non-state actors alike, including killing, physical assault, arbitrary detention, threats and judicial harassment. Police officials are often the perpetrators of violence against HRDs, which is usually carried out with impunity. Armed groups and private companies also target HRDs for work related to economic development projects and their impact on the local communities or the environment. HRDs are increasingly the targets of online smear campaigns by radical nationalists.