Mumbai: 83-year-old Jesuit priest Stan Swamy was produced before a special court in the city on Friday and remanded in judicial custody by the court till 23 October.
He will now be lodged in Taloja Jail along with other co-accused in the case. The octogenarian was arrested by the National Investigation Agency on Thursday from his home in Jharkhand’s capital of Ranchi and brought to Mumbai, where the agency produced him before an NIA special court.
Swamy has been advocating for the land, forest and labour rights of Jharkhand’s adivasis for the past three decades. The agency claimed he is a member of the banned CPI (Maoist) and has received funds for its activities. It also claimed to have seized documents and propaganda material of the organisation from him.
In a video-statement the activist recorded before his arrest, he said that he was interrogated by the NIA for 15 hours and that the agency wanted him to come to Mumbai for further interrogation which he has refused because of his age and risk during the pandemic. He was ready for interrogation through video-conferencing, he said.
He added that what is happening to him is not unique, but part of a broader process taking place all over the country. “We have seen how intellectuals, lawyers, poets, writers, activists are put in jail because they have expressed dissent or raised questions about the ruling power,” he said in the video. He said he was being "falsely implicated" and had "never been to Bhima-Koregaon" in his life.