Members of several Christian organisations took out a silent rally in Belagavi on Tuesday to protest against what they called the unlawful arrest of pro-people activist and Jesuit priest Stan Swamy.
Jesuits of Goa Province and members of other religious congregations and non-governmental organisations participated in the rally and demanded that the octogenarian Fr. Swamy be released immediately.
Priests and the faithful of different churches and denominations also submitted a memorandum to Deputy Commissioner M.G. Hiremath.
Bishop of Belgaum Derek Fernandes, Fr. Ronald D’Souza, Fr. Simon Fernandes, priests, nuns and Christian leaders from different parts of the State were present.
They wore black masks and held placards and banners. They stood silently at the Rani Chenamma Circle for some time and then, went to the Deputy Commissioner’s office.
“We are joining a nation-wide protest in support of Fr. Swamy. We condemn his arrest and demand his immediate release along with all those who are arbitrarily incarcerated for championing the cause of the poor and the exploited,” Bishop Fernandes said.
The protesters expressed anguish over the National Investigation Agency (NIA) taking into custody Fr. Swamy (83) from his residence at Ranchi on the charge of sedition and having connection with Elgar Parishad that preceded the caste-based violence at Bhima Koregaon near Pune in 2017.
They also condemned the high handedness of the NIA in arresting Fr. Swamy who is suffering from several illnesses and had expressed his inability to travel to Mumbai.
They submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner and dispersed.