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Friday, June 9, 2023

The truth about Fr Stan Lourdusamy’s death

Much has been written-almost all in support of Fr Stan and condemning the Justice system under which he died. May be one needs to take a look from a different angle.

Fr Stan Lourdusamy, a Jesuit and of 84 years old suffering from various age related ailments and also from acute Parkinson’s was arrested last year under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) there has been a hue and cry against his arrest, mostly out of sympathy given his age and his fragile health. Why? One must know that the Justice system wheels roll and rolls slow.

Fr SL would not be picked up simply because he helped the Adivasis and the poor. Please pause a moment and know that there are 3793 Jesuits spread out in its 20 Provinces its geographical demarcation working in Bharat and quite a number for the poor but mostly they are in the field of education. Has at least o.1 percent picked up for unlawful activities under the UAPA?

I must say that there are rapists-looters and womanizers among them. A few cases were also filed against these in the various courts across the country but there is not a case filed against a Jesuits under UAPA. This clearly shows that there was no wanton malice against the Jesuits and against Fr. Stan One must agree that a crime/offence committed by one be he a priest or lay person is a crime and needs to be probed and brought to justice. Can there be two justice systems-one for the religious and the other for the ordinary lay person?

Justice is blind and rightly so. There is no cause for pity or heartbreak because of age, aliments etc. No matter who you are the law is above you stated late Justice VR Krishna Iyer.

It is revealing that on the 4th July 2021 a news item in the IE made headlines, ‘Cardinal among 10 indicted by Vatican for financial crimes”. This (Prince of the church as we refer to Cardinals) Cardinal Angelo Becciu was among the ten sent to trial in the Vatican with financial crimes including embezzlement, money laundering, fraud, extortion and abuse of office. The Pope personally gave the required approval for Becciu to be indicted. The media did not report if he was suffering from any aliment. But one can be sure that he must be in his late 70s! It takes long to climb the hierarchical ladder to reach the status of a Cardinal! Was the Pope right or wrong in giving his approval to indict Becciu?

In India to get the approval for indicting an MP takes a long rout nous journey. The Justice system is such that the rich and the powerful get bail after bail. P. Chidambaram got bail 25 times. One must hang one’s head in shame and  be ready to pull up the Justice system be it in Fr Stan’s case of any other. Why this interference and the publicity?

Age and aliments do not absolve the crimes and Fr Stan must be no exemption. In fact he was allowed to be treated in the Holy Family Hospital in Bandra .That he died is a tragedy but then how many die in jail without any anyone shedding a drop of tear and without any recourse to medical care and hospitalization. Netas like Lalu Prasad can be treated in IIMS because he is a neta and that at the cost of public money.

Has anyone questioned this unfair Justice System? How many live on for years in dreadful prison conditions without their cases being taken up. Why has this not been questioned? Is the apex court not accountable for the deaths of the hundreds in prison simply because it failed to take up the cases? So to me it seems that Fr.Stan’s case and his death in the hospital is being exploited by those part time Justice seekers.

The Indian Express (7th July, 2021) gives the list of the Opposition leaders who have written to the President seeking action against those responsible for Fr Stan Lourdusamy death. To speak of the Opposition leaders makes one laugh. These so called leaders nay netas–some are adrift-waiting to hold on any drift wood to hang on and be floating in the political sea. Others are on bail and one CM at least is facing the wrath of the HC for allowing and abetting the violence in the State against her opponents.

The rapes of even children (when a grandmother was tied to the cot and gang raped in front of her grandchildren) and the rampage-the looting and the burning by her own goons and the State police which is under her. Are we to believe that these netas are really seeking justice for Fr Stan’s death? What a dichotomy? Is Justice partial or are these netas’ visions jaundiced?

The one who heads the list Mrs Sonia Gandhi of signatories is  on bail.The last two belong to an ideology to which puts down dissenters and protestors. The President recently stated that anyone who bullies China will go with broken heads and bloodshed. The one Party system-the term of the President life long –the Hong Kong suppression, the re-education camps held in China whose ideology these two leaders faithfully follow (but do not raise their voices to condemn) of the illegal abortions performed on pregnant Muslim women et al.

So these are the leaders who do not dare to raise their voices against such inhuman and unjust atrocities writing to the President for justice regarding Fr. Stan Lourdusamy makes a joke of the whole exercise. Have these so called leaders an iota of justice? Now they have become the champions of justice in the case of Fr Stan Lourdusamy. Such selfish motives are worse than the crimes.

Have they raised the issue of the 4.5 crores of cases pending before the Supreme Court. No, they want to just promote their own selfish interest. These Justice seekers have vested interest in their Justice seeking. For most of the injustices they are blind and unmoved. Can one be a part time justice seeker? One’s whole personality must be attuned to a high morality standard and imbibed with the thirst of Justice-no matter where and when they hear or see injustices they need to protest. But this is not the case of the signatories who have written to the President.

It is an insult to Fr. Stan Lourdusamy to have such advocates and supporters if he is not guilty of what he is accused of. This is a shameless exploitation of death and of the justice system. Those who wrote to the President are politically motivated and they accuse the NIA and the government of such. This is simple ‘projection’.

To get back to Fr Stan Lourdusamy’s working for the Adivasis and the poor one must ask the relevant question if all those who work for the poor have been hauled up by the NIA –Is there not more that eye can see? Working for the Adivasis can mean many things –did he open a free food or a shelter place, skill imparting or an education organization. What was this ‘help’ and in what form and towards.

Providing funds to the vanvasis could also come under the ambit of ‘help’ but does that not lead to procure arms and weapons? The relevant question is why only Fr. Stan Lourdusamy was arrested and not others who also work for the poor and the Adivasis? I saw a media report questioning how a priest could be a Maoist.

There are priests and priests who follow different ideologies. Nothing prevents them from following their chosen ideology. There is much that meets the eye and there are many unanswered questions. It is easy to rush in defense of an 84 old priest fragile and suffering from age related ailments and make headlines.

That is also exploitation –why exploit Fr Stan’s death and his fragile health for one’s own publicity and political gains? One must pause reflect and not haul up the NIA or the justice system without realizing the whole truth and only the truth.

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Dr. Hilda Raja
Dr. Hilda Raja
Dr. Hilda Raja was a PG level professor at Stella Maris College, Chennai. Post retirement, she worked with many NGOs and as a Development Consultant. She was nominated on the Advisory Committe of the CBCI (Catholic Bishops Conference of India ) for three years. Having studied throughout in Minority Institutions and reared in a Christian ethos, she is fully convinced that the Hindu soul is secular and Hindu Dharma is totally misunderstood by other religions. For her, Bharat and all that it holds is sacred.


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