Mumbai: The funeral of Jesuit priest and tribal rights activist Father Stan Lourduswamy, who passed away while in custody Monday, was solemnly performed at a Bandra church here Tuesday afternoon.
Church officials said a special memorial mass was held at the St. Peter’s Church, Bandra, but owing to Covid protocols, only 20 mourners were present, besides a large posse of police force outside the church.
However, Catholic volunteers, rights activists and other mourners stood in small groups at intervals, fighting back tears, carrying posters or placards with slogans in support of Swamy and condemning the government.
Suffering from multiple health issues, Stan Swamy, 84, died at a private hospital while in the custody of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA). He was awaiting bail from the Bombay High Court, but it didn’t materialise.
A well-known tribal rights activist, Stan Swamy was arrested by the NIA in connection with the probe into the events preceding and after the January 2018 Bhima-Koregaon caste riots.
The activist-priest’s death evoked a global outpouring of anger, shock and sympathy on social media targeting the Central government, the judiciary and others for the perceived delay in granting him bail despite his advanced age and frail health, while many have sought the attention of the President, questioning how he could pose threats to the nation as was alleged.