Days after several human rights activists were arrested by the Maharashtra police, Jharkhand-based activist Stan Swamy, whom the police have alleged was involved in activities to help Maoists, said that this was an effort to discredit him.
In a press conference, the police had claimed that arrested activist and lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj had written a letter asking Swamy for funds to help the Communist Party of India (Maoist).
Swamy, the convener of Persecuted Prisoners Solidarity Committee (PPSC), said in a statement on Monday, "I would like to make it clear on my part with regard to the content of the said letter that Sudha Bharadwaj never asked me for any fund for the activities as mentioned in the letter. It is nothing but complete concoction and absolute falsehood that is being propagated by the Maharashtra police. Sudha Bharadwaj has also repeatedly denied the veracity of the said letter and has said that it is a fabricated letter."
Swamy's name was mentioned at the press conference held by the police to justify why activists such as Bharadwaj, Arun Ferreira, Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves and Gautam Navlakha were arrested in a cross-country crackdown.
Swamy said in the statement that the "false" case against him was a result of the work that he had done on human rights.
"I have been raising awareness among Adivasi and Dalit people for their rights guaranteed under the Indian Constitution especially the rights of the adibasi community provided in the Fifth Schedule and their right of self governance through Gram Sabhas as provided in PESA Act; I have also tried to make them aware of the judgment of the Supreme Court that 'the owner of the land is also the owner of the subsoil minerals'. I have also raised voice against the formation of Land Bank that intends to take over the "commons" such as roads, rivers, ponds, burial grounds, community forest lands etc which are traditionally used by the community," he said.
Swamy said the case against him was merely an effort to discredit him.
"I fear that these activities of mine have angered the powerful interests within the government that they not only have foisted a case of sedition against me in Jharkhand but now have included me in a false case that links me with banned organizations at national level in order to discredit me together with other intellectuals, legal professionals and social activists raising our voices for the rights of poorest of poor people in the state of Jharkhand and all over India," he said in the statement.