The Chair of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference Department for International Affairs, Bishop Declan Lang, has paid tribute to Father Stan Swamy SJ, who died on Monday 5 July 2021.
Fr Swamy, a Jesuit priest, dedicated his life to defending the rights of India’s Dalit and Adivasi communities. He was unjustly imprisoned in October 2020 and his long-term health conditions worsened while in detention.
In May this year a court authorised his transfer to hospital, where he remained in a critical condition after testing positive for Covid-19.
Bishop Lang said:
“Father Stan Swamy SJ worked tirelessly for fifty years to defend the human dignity of India’s most marginalised people. For this he was unjustly imprisoned and denied his own rights. His life and legacy are a powerful lesson for us all, of selfless service to others.
“Today our prayers are with Fr Stan, the Church in India, the global Jesuit community and all those who he helped. May he rest in peace.”
Earlier this year, Catholic Bishops from the Department for International Affairs recorded messages of prayer and support for Fr Stan Swamy as he marked his 84th birthday in prison. In January, Cardinal Vincent Nichols joined with the Provincial of the Jesuits in Britain to call for his immediate release.
Jesuit Missions, which has been leading the campaign in support of Fr Swamy in the UK, has issued a statement.