Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren expressed his grief and anger towards the demise of Stan Swamy, who was accused of the Bhima Koregaon case.
"Shocked to learn about the demise of Father Stan Swamy. He dedicated his life to working for tribal rights. I had strongly opposed his arrest & incarceration. The Union government should be answerable for absolute apathy and non-provision of timely medical services, leading to his death," Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren said in a tweet on July 5, soon after the news of Jesuit priest Stan Swamy’s death in Mumbai hospital broke.
Hemant Soren, the working president of the JMM, has spoken out against Stan Swamy's arrest on terror charges by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in October 2020 in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence case. Hemant Soren is the leader of the three-party alliance government in Jharkhand, which includes Congress and the RJD.
Soren reprised his rant against the Centre in a video message on social media a day after his death, saying democracy and the constitution were under threat. He also was a signatory of a letter written to the President of India, along with nine other non-BJP party leaders, demanding a probe in Swamy’s death.
Swamy died in a Mumbai hospital in July, where he was admitted in March on Bombay high court’s direction after his health deteriorated at Taloja prison in Navi Mumbai—a facility administered by the Maharashtra government where its ally Congress is part of the three-party rule of the Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress.
Soren blamed the Centre for the murder of Swamy (84), who was a tribal rights activist, according to his supporters.
Swamy was from Tamil Nadu, and after completing his theological studies at several institutes in India and abroad, he worked in Jharkhand for several decades, according to media reports.
A big question remains, why does Hemant Soren think he should defend a person, who has been charged under UAPA for alleged links with the outlawed CPI (Maoists) by the National Investigation Agency (NIA)? Is it because of appeasement politics to buttress a specific community to which Swamy belongs to the Christian community? As per the 2011 census, 4.3% of the 3.29 crore Jharkhand population are Christians. Tribals make over 26% of the state population. And since most of the Christians in the state are converted tribals, the non-christian tribal population stands to be around 22% of the state population.
However, if we go by the number of elected representatives in the state who are Christians by faith is disproportionately higher than population share, even higher than the Muslim community that makes around 14% of the Jharkhand population.
In the Jharkhand assembly, which has 81 members, the number of Christian tribals who are members of the Assembly is around 10 percent, with JMM sending about half a dozen MLAs from this community and the rest from the Congress. JMM’s Rajmahal member of Lok Sabha also belongs to the community.
In comparison, both JMM and Congress have two legislators, each from the Muslim community—which is only about 4 percent, much lesser than their population in total state population (around 14%).
So what makes the Christian community so powerful politically, especially in the JMM. Is it their financial clout backed by the missionaries? So the question: why is Hemant Soren defending an accused?’ Does the answer lie in there! That needs to be pondered upon.