Panaji (Goa) [India], July 7 (ANI): To protest against the death of jailed activist Father Stan Swamy, the Goa unit of Congress on Tuesday organised a demonstration at Azad Maidan in Panaji and demanded immediate release of other activists behind bars.
Condemning Swamy's death in custody, Goa Pradesh Congress Committee Girish Chodankar hit out at the Centre and asked people to revolt against the "dadagiri" government.
Accused in the January 2018 Bhima Koregaon case, Stan Swamy passed away on Monday in Mumbai's Bandra Hospital, where he had been on a ventilator since Sunday, his lawyers said. He was 84.
He was being treated at the private Holy Family Hospital in Mumbai following an order by the Bombay High Court on May 28. He had tested positive for COVID-19 on May 30.
"Since this BJP government has come to power, it has sent around 3,974 activists behind the bars to further suppress their voice. They should be released immediately," said Chodankar.
"There is a need to awaken the national conscience and we Goans to start this revolt and will awaken the people of India," he added.
Chodankar said that Father Stan Swamy was a "longtime Indian tribal rights activist", who worked and fought to give rights to backward classes and tribals.
Calling Sawmy's death an "institutional murder", Chodankar said, "Peoples freedom of speech and rights are bulldozed by this BJP government. It is misusing the power by filing false cases against people, thus suppressing voice. This government is fully responsible for the death of Swamy."
The leader of the opposition on Goa assembly, Digambar Kamat, who was also present at the protest site, said that Stan Swamy lost his life fighting for justice at a hospital, where he was transferred on the orders of the High court as "the government was not arranging his treatment."
"Government should not arrest activists, our country achieved freedom through Mahatma Gandhi's Satyagraha, non-violence and ahimsa through his activism. Freedom of speech is a fundamental right that should be given to all and the government should not be strangled. This is not democracy. Now it is high time that the people of the country should introspect," Kamat said. (ANI)