Chennai (Tamil Nadu, India), September 21 (KMS): A seminar organized by the Movement against UAPA and other Repressive Laws (MURL) demanded that the Indian Union Government must repeal all repressive laws including UAPA (Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act), AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act), PSA (Public Safety Act), Sedition Law, NIA (National Investigation Agency) Act, PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act), and NSA (National Security Act) etc.
It urged the Modi government to act upon the recent UN Human Rights Council statement and NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau) report about UAPA by initiating steps to save people from repressions under this law. The seminar called upon all sections of the society, especially those groups targeted by the present BJP government, to fight together for the repeal of all repressive laws.
MURL, a joint platform of activists and groups for mobilizing public opinion against these laws, organized the seminar on ‘REPRESSIVE LAWS UNDER BJP REGIME’ at Madras Reporters Guild in Chennai which was attended by hundreds of activists. The seminar was part of a series of activities by MURL to strengthen the efforts towards repealing all repressive laws like UAPA, AFSPA, PSA, Sedition Law, NIA Act, PMLA, & NSA which are grossly misused to suppress the voices of dissent.
In his introductory speech, E.M. Abdul Rahiman alleged that the Modi regime is suppressing the people who are raising their voice against the policies of the government. “These oppressive laws are against the people, against the country and against the Constitution. Now not only Muslim minorities are becoming victims of these repressive laws but other groups like journalists, human rights activists and all those who are raising their voice against the policies of the government are being targeted. There are many organizations which are working in the interest of the country, for the protection of people’s rights. Their ideology and strategy are different, but it does not mean that we can achieve the result by working alone. We should forget all differences and come together and raise our voice against oppressive laws and policies of the present BJP government”.
Echoing the Rahiman’s views, Prof A Marx, Chairperson of NCHRO (National Confedration of Human Rights Orgnizations) and State President of MURL, Tamilnadu, maintained that UAPA and all other repressive laws are against the letter and spirit of the Indian constitution. As responsible and law abiding citizens it is the duty of every Indian to defend the constitution by fighting the draconian laws that are against the constitution. He called upon all activists and groups to come together putting a stronger fight.
Singh Juj, a farmer leader from Punjab, said that the Government of India by making anti-people laws is openly violating the rights given by the Indian Constitution. He said, “The laws that have been made against the farmers by the Government of India completely violate the rights of the farmers and the farmers have been running a movement for a long time. Efforts are being made against them through black laws and to arrest them in false cases.” He demanded the withdrawal of three anti-farmer laws, as well as the withdrawal of all those oppressive laws.
Advocate K.P. Mohammad Sharif (Central Committee member, MURLM) highlighted one of the less discussed laws called Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). He enumerated various repressive provisions contained in PMLA, some of which are more dangerous than the procedures of other repressive laws. The main threat contained in the PMLA is that both powers of investigation and adjudication are being given to a single agency which ultimately leads to deeper misuse as we are now witnessing in present India.
Ashish Gupta, journalist and social activist from Delhi, said that under the UAPA, such people are being prosecuted who raise the voice of the people and write for their rights. He said, “Bhīma Koregaon and the anti-CA movement are living examples in which the government has put them in jails by making fake cases to suppress the voice of their opponents. All these black laws can be removed only through mass movements.” He demanded that the Government of India should immediately abolish all such laws.
Advocate Bavani Mohan, State President of NCHRO, stated that at present the BJP has become very strong. “They are leaving no stone unturned to misuse every law available against their opposition and the dissenting organizations and individuals. Now an individual can be arrested under UAPA even on an accused intention. The sad part is that even our MPs and MLAs are unaware of the dangerous depth of these laws,” he said.
Ms Pallabi Ghosh, activist from Assam, said that under AFSPA, many powers have been given to paramilitary forces that indiscriminately violate human rights. She said, “This law is depriving people of their rights in the provinces of the North East. Irom Sharmila sat on hunger strike for 16 years to remove this law, yet the government remained unmoved.” She demanded that AFSPA should be removed from the North-East regions with immediate effect.
Sandeep Nimesh, activist from Uttar Pradesh, explained the manner in which anti-establishment people are being targeted by imposing sedition sections in the country. Uttar Pradesh is in the forefront in this matter where the ruling BJP government has imposed sedition cases on protesters indiscriminately as a means of suppression.
Rajesh Ningthoukhongajam, a rights activist from Manipur, explained the use of AFSPA for the last 53 years in Manipur, which grants the Indian armed forces special powers to kill on mere suspicion, search without warrant, destroy property, institutionalize impunity, blatantly violate the rights to life, right against torture, right against arbitrary detention and right to fair trial.
Advocate A Yusuf, Central Committee member MURL, released a report “Summary of Latest Data about UAPA Cases published by NCRB.
The seminar adopted around a dozen resolutions demanding to initiate steps to save people from repressions under this law ; to release all political and rights activist unconditionally; to stop intervention on the freedom of expression and freedom of religion; to give compensation and take legal action against investigation officers in the cases those who are acquitted in UAPA cases after a long time in jail; in UAPA and other such laws that “there must be some timeline to conclude the trial, and after the specific time limit there must be a provision for default bail like under section 167(2) of Criminal Procedure Code; to release all political prisoners across India who have been put behind the bars as part of political vendetta; to withdraw the three newly enacted anti-farmer laws.
The seminar was conducted by Advocate A Mohamed Yusuf, and a welcome note was given by Sadique Qureshi, Coordinator MURL. MURL aims to extend support to the innocent victims of these draconian laws due to political vendetta.