By Lauren Frayer

MUMBAI, India — Two days before police finally came to arrest him, the Rev. Stan Swamy recorded a video of himself speaking directly into the camera.

“They want to put me out of the way,” the ailing 83-year-old Jesuit priest said.

His voice sounded frail. But what he was saying was explosive.

The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said, was targeting him in retaliation for his advocacy on behalf of Indigenous people in Indian jails. A sociologist as well as a Roman Catholic clergyman, Swamy had recently published a study of 3,000 people jailed for being members of banned Maoist groups. He found that 97% of them had no such affiliation and that many of their trials were held without lawyers, in a language they didn’t understand. He’d filed a case on their behalf in the state court of Jharkhand, where he lived. All of this had embarrassed the government, he said.

Swamy’s office had since been raided several times. Police hauled away a loaner laptop he’d recently started using and then came back for his old desktop computer. They interrogated him for 15 hours over five days, he said, about a terrorism plot he knew nothing about.

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