Rep. Juan Vargas Reintroduces Resolution Demanding Justice for Indian Human Rights Activist

Rep. Juan Vargas Reintroduces Resolution Demanding Justice for Indian Human Rights Activist

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Father Stanislas Lourduswamy. Photo by Khetfield59 via Wikimedia Commons

Rep. Juan Vargas reintroduced a resolution to honor Indian human rights activist Stanislaus Lourduswamy, a Jesuit priest known for defending the Adavasi people’s right to protect their land and homes from unjust seizure by the state and mining companies.

Vargas, who represents the 53rd District along the border, was a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee when he first heard about the death of Lourduswamy, known as Father Stan. As a former Jesuit himself, Vargas felt compelled to speak out and call for the resolution.

The resolution honors Father Stan’s life and legacy and reaffirms an ongoing commitment to democracy, religious freedom and justice around the world.

“Father Stan dedicated his life to giving voice to the voiceless. He was a tireless advocate for the rights of the indigenous Adivasi people, trained young community leaders and worked for justice in many communities in India,” Vargas said.

“As a former Jesuit, I am horrified that Father Stan was subjected to relentless violence and denied medical care while in custody. I have introduced this resolution to ensure that Father Stan and his lifelong commitment to the common good are never forgotten.”

The resolution comes on the second anniversary of Father Stan’s death while in custody in the Indian state. The resolution urges India to conduct an independent investigation into his arrest, imprisonment and death. The investigation would focus on the medical neglect Father Stan suffered as an elderly person with Parkinson’s disease.

The case has attracted international attention due to falsified evidence that led to Father Stan being charged with terrorism along with 15 other prisoners. Prominent groups such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Catholic cardinals and bishops have denounced the actions of the Indian authorities.

In addition to calling for an investigation into Father Stan’s incarceration, the resolution also calls on the House of Representatives to make it clear to the Indian government and governments around the world that the mistreatment and incarceration of human rights defenders cannot continue.

Additionally, the resolution calls on Congress to monitor and support Adivasi, Dalit and minority communities in India, as well as other indigenous communities around the world.