Right-wing Hindu groups in the southern Indian state of Karnataka have expressed objection to naming a private park after Jesuit priest Stan Swamy, who died in judicial custody three months ago.
The park is situated inside the campus of 140-year-old St Aloysius College in Mangaluru, a port city in the state. The college is part of a network of educational institutions administered by the Society of Jesus in India.
The Mangalore college recently decided to name its park after Father Swamy, who is revered by many for sacrificing his life for poor tribal communities in Jharkhand, eastern India.
However, Hindu groups on October 6 condemned the college’s decision and threatened to protest if the management goes ahead with its plan.
Among those who opposed the naming of the park after the Jesuit priest are the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the students wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party that heads the federal and several state governments, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council), and the Bajrang Dal.
Sharan Pumbwell, VHP zonal secretary, told reporters that Father Swamy was arrested under India’s anti-terror law — the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act – as he had faced serious allegations like promoting terrorism and Maoism.
“It is an insult to society if the park is named after him,” he said.
Pumbwell also said the Hindu groups would protest if the management goes ahead with its plan. The groups have also submitted a memorandum to the deputy commissioner in this regard.
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