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Maharashtra cops "raid" 83-yr-old Jharkhand tribal rights leader's campus, residence

An eight-person Maharashtra police team has made a surprise raid on the Bagaicha campus in Namkum near Ranchi, the residence of 83-year old Stan Swamy, a well-known activist of Jharkhand. The police searched Stan Swamy’s belongings for about three-and-a half hours. It took Stan Swamy’s hard disk and internet modem and forced him to give his email and Facebook passwords.
Thereafter, according to a statement issued by the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JJM), the cops changed his passwords and “seized” his accounts. The Maharashtra police earlier raided Stan Swamy’s residence last year as well on August 28, 2018.
Stan, who works for tribal rights in the state, especially on displacement, alleged corporate loot of resources, the condition of undertrials and Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA), 1996, is a known critic of the government’s attempts to amend land laws and the land acquisition act in Jharkhand, and a strong advocate of the Forest Rights Act, PESA and related laws.
Stan Swamy (right)
Calling “intimidation” of Swamy shocking, JJM said, it is part of the policy of the BJP government at the centre and the state to harass and arrest activists and public intellectuals who are critical of the government.
“Last year, Surendra Gadling, Sudhir Dhawale, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen, and Rona Wilson were arrested on June 6, 2018, and they continue to be held imprisoned in the Yerwada Central Jail. On August 28, 2018, the police arrested five more activists -- Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Varavara Rao and Gautam Navlakha. They too are yet to be released”, JJM said.
“These imprisonments are nothing but an attempt by the government to strike terror among those who are fighting for the rights of the marginalized”, it added.
Criticizing the Centre and media houses close to BJP for claiming that these human rights activists are part of a Maoist conspiracy related to the Bhima-Koregaon incident, JJM said, “This concocted story seems to be part of a larger propaganda, based on terms like urban Naxals, aimed at stifling any criticism of the government.”

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