Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren on Saturday came out in support of tribal rights activist Stan Swamy, who was arrested by NIA on Thursday night in the Bhima Koregaon case.
"What message does the BJP want to give out by arresting 83-year-old Stan Swamy who raises the voices for the suppressed, poor people and tribals. What kind of obstinacy is this?" Soren tweeted.
The National Investigation Agency arrested the Jesuit priest from his residence in Bagaicha Bagan in Ranchi and took him to Mumbai on Friday morning. The NIA has claimed that Father Stan Swamy was in direct contact with the Maoists.
The NIA court in Mumbai has since sent Swamy in judicial custody till October 23.
The opposition BJP termed the Chief Minister's remarks as "vote-bank politics".
"The Chief Minister is doing vote-bank politics. He is trying to pacify the Christian community. The Chief Minister has no faith in the judicial process. He should let the investigating agency do its job and not to create hindrance," BJP state President Deepak Prakash told IANS.
Meanwhile, Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, Auxiliary Bishop of Ranchi, said in a statement that the community was distressed and troubled by the way and manner in which Stan Swamy was arrested.
He said that while the NIA was well within its rights to investigate all accusations against any citizen, he was shocked at the way Swamy was treated despite his age and health condition.
Bishop Mascarenhas, on behalf of the Catholic Church in Ranchi, appealed to all authorities concerned who have a say in this matter to get Father Stan Swamy released immediately.
The Jharkhand Congress also condemned the arrest.