New Delhi, Oct 04 (KMS): People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) in its latest report has revealed that around 80 per cent cases registered under UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act) in the past 12 years in India were under Narendra Modi led Bharatiya Janata Party government.
The study titled ‘UAPA: Criminalizing Dissent and State Terror’, pointed out that out of 357 cases registered and investigated by notorious National Investigation Agency (NIA), 80 per cent were filed during Modi regime’s government while 20 per cent remaining cases were registered during Manmohan Singh’s tenure.
The study is based on the cases registered between 2009 when the NIA came into being and August 2022.
Citing NIA data, the PUCL study pointed out that only 12 per cent cases were registered by NIA while rest of the cases were transferred by the state police to the NIA
The blatant fact which PUCL mentioned in the study was the validity of the cases transferred by the state police to the NIA as majority of the cases were not linked to national security or involved in any violence threatening Indian sovereignty.
The report cited the example of Bhima Koregaon case which was transferred to the NIA because the BJP-led government fell in 2020 early and Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress led by Uddhave Thackeray formed the government in Maharashtra.
The report cited another example in a case from Madurai involving a Facebook post on 15.08.2019 in which the accused person remarked as to whether India was truly independent. The case was abruptly transferred from the Tamil Nadu state police to the NIA in 2021.
PUCL General Secretary Dr. V Suresh termed the arbitrary use of unbridled suo motu powers by the Indian government to transfer cases from state police to itself through the NIA, ‘a serious threat to federal principles’.
About the conviction rate, the report found that out of 8,371 persons arrested during 2015-2020 under the UAPA, close to 8,136 persons constituting 97.2 percent of persons arrested, get acquitted at the end of trials in UAPA courts but after spending many years in jail without bail.
The report pointed that such high acquittal rates only highlight the fact that most of the prosecutions are devoid of merit and did not warrant initiation of prosecution in the first place, much less, under UAPA.