Hitting out at the Union government over the death of Father Stan Swamy, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Sunday said the tribal-rights activist was “killed” in jail. The Sena MP further asked whether the country’s foundations were so weak that an 84-year-old man could overthrow the Narendra Modi government, equating it with the ones of Hitler and Mussolini.
Swamy, who was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with the Elgaar Parishad case in October, died in judicial custody on July 5 while undergoing treatment at the hospital.
In his weekly column Rokhthok in Saamana, Raut compared this government to the one under Indira Gandhi that had accused George Fernandes of plotting to overthrow the government.
“Indira Gandhi was scared of George Fernandes. George was a young leader then and was not aged like Father Stan Swamy. But today’s government is scared of 84-85 years old Stan Swamy and Varvara Rao. Stan Swamy was killed in jail,” said Raut.
The Sena MP further said,“a government that is scared of an 84-year-old man is dictatorial in attitude but weak in the heart like Hitler’s and Mussolini’s.”
He said that the inflammatory speeches and provocative statements made at Elgaar Parishad cannot be supported but what happened later should be called a conspiracy of cracking down on freedom. “What does waging a war against the state, treason and anti-national activities mean? Does making tribal people in forests aware of their rights and freedom mean overthrowing a country? How can igniting the minds by a spark of rebellion be treason?” asked Raut.
“The death of 84-year-old disabled and helpless Father Stan Swamy in prison cannot be justified even if Maoists and Naxals are more dangerous than Kashmiri separatists.”
“There is a difference between opposition to the government and opposition to the country. If anyone thinks that opposing a government is a conspiracy against the country, then the seeds of dictatorship are sowed in their minds,” he added.