Mangalore (Agenzia Fides) - Naming a park after Father Stan Swamy, the Jesuit unjustly arrested for sedition who died in hospital, in judicial custody, last July (see Fides, 6/7/2021), is the initiative of the Society of Jesus in India which found the firm opposition of radical Hindu groups in the southern Indian state of Karnataka. The park, situated inside the campus of St Aloysius College in Mangaluru, is part of a network of educational institutions administered by the Society of Jesus in India.
Father Swamy is a religious appreciated and respected for his commitment in promoting the tribals in Jharkhand, eastern India: his figure inspired the intentions of the College leaders who intend to inaugurate, in a green area in the complex of the structure, the "Stan Swamy Peace Park".
The opposing groups are the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the students wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that heads the federal and several state governments, including Karnataka, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council) and Bajrang Dal (the party of the strong and stout). The groups have also submitted a memorandum to the local police on the matter. Father Swamy was arrested under India’s anti-terror law, therefore it would be "an insult to society if the park is named after him". Catholic leaders and lawyers say instead that, since the park is inside a private institution, no interference is allowed. Ecclesial authorities and members of the Society of Jesus recall that St. Aloysius College has served society for 140 years without discriminating anyone on the religious, caste or social grounds and that there is every right to name the park after Father Swamy.
However, the leaders of the College have decided to postpone the naming ceremony of the park, respecting the advice of City Police Commissioner, in order not to create social unrest.
Father Swamy was arrested on 8 October 2020 in Ranchi, the capital of the state of Jharkhand, on charges of sedition and died on July 5 this year, while undergoing treatment for Covid-19 related complications in Mumbai’s Holy Family Hospital. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 8/10/2021)