Bidding a heartfelt goodbye, thousands of people attended the funeral service of Jesuit priest and tribal rights activist, Father Stan Swamy, 84, on Tuesday via an online broadcast of the service on the YouTube channel of St Peter's Church, Bandra west.
Though only 20 mourners, all priests from the Society of Jesus (SJ), the order to which Fr Swamy belonged, could attend the funeral Mass due to Covid-19 protocols, several people expressed their deepest condolences online and in the form of short prayer services in their homes.
Outside St Peter's Church, Bandra, several people from the Bombay Catholic Sabha (BCS) peacefully protested to express their solidarity saying the 84-year-old’s death in custody would not go in vain. Members held placards stating, “RIP Stan. Sorry Stan, we failed you. Stan, we continue to fight for justice. Innocent man’s blood on institutions! How many more deaths of Bhima Koregaon detainees? This must stop."
Fr Frazer Mascarenhas, who was a co-celebrant of the funeral mass said, "I accompanied Fr Stan during his last month when he was admitted at Holy Family Hospital, Bandra. Stan was gentle and one who loved peace. There was no question of violence about him. He considered all those working for humanity, especially the deprived sections of humanity, as his comrades."
Fr Swamy, 84, who had Parkinson’s, among other health issues, died at a hospital on Monday while waiting for bail. Father Stan Swamy’s family members in Viragalur village in Trichy District of Tamil Nadu also attended the funeral service via online mode.
Leaders of major opposition parties have written to the President of India seeking his intervention to hold accountable those responsible for the "detention and inhuman treatment" of Father Stan Swamy. Members of BCS said protests would continue to ensure the Supreme Court (SC) takes note of this incident.