On 28th July 2021, the progressive denizens of Jamshedpur City and its vicinity observed National Justice Day with a unique gusto and grandeur. Avidly reminiscing the incredible legacy and contributions of Fr. Stan Swamy, people from all walks of life and faiths demonstrated with their luminous and evocative candles, posters and banners across the Steel City. In fact, it was a clarion call by the urbane and cognizant citizens to stand in solidarity with the margins deprived of basic human rights and justice.
The silent candle light demonstrations reflected growing inequalities, violence, atrocities, discrimination, cry for justice, and liberation from oppressive structures in the Indian Republic. Besides, the observation of National Justice Day beckoned the general public to pursue and further the rousing legacy of Fr. Stan Swamy, “Not to remain a silent spectator” and more significantly, join hands with compatible minds to protect the secular, democratic and cultural integrity of our nation.
Fr. Stan’s custodial death is an awaking, and awakening call for all the Indian citizens amidst nationwide gross human rights violations. It is worth-remembering that Fr. Stan Swamy worked tirelessly for the exploited and dispossessed, displaced and convicted, vulnerable and voiceless, irrespective of caste and creed. Throughout his life history, he incarnated the egalitarian values of peace, love, equality, justice and truth, braving all the odds and challenges of the state absolutism. Undoubtedly, the entire nation consisting of the Adivasis, Dalits and other backward sections of society has lost a daring, dedicated, committed and gentle priest-activist. He has left behind a legacy of in-depth Christian faith as an inspiration for all generations to come.
This candle-light demonstration urged one and all to demand justice for Fr. Stan Swamy and all the accused in Bhima-Koregaon Case. The assembly of all the concerned citizens demanded the Central Government to free all the human-right defenders and under-trial prisoners languishing in jails for years now. They called on the government to defend democracy, repeal sedition law, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and repressive state laws, and restore citizens’ right to dissent. The entire assembly sang the song of Rabindranath Tagore unitedly and unisonally, “Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.”
Gerald Ravi D’Souza, SJ