Thousands of youths are languishing in Indian jails without trial, says E T Mohammad Basheer, IUML MP, and asserts that is nothing but denial of justice.
By TwoCircles.net Staff Correspondent,
New Delhi: Claiming that the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act – UAPA – was enacted with a very high objective, that is, to curb all the activities against the integrity and sovereignty of the nation, E T Mohammad Basheer, IUML MP, on Monday said the law has been misused in a highly condemnable manner.
“UAPA has been widely misused. It is against SCs, STs, adivasis and minorities. Thousands of youths are languishing in Indian jails without trial. That is nothing but denial of justice. It is a very important issue as far as this nation is concerned,” Basheer said amid lot of interruptions during a zero hour discussion about UAPA in the Lok Sabha.
E T Mohammad Basheer
The original Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967 was amended by the Congress-led UPA government in December 2012 after much resistance from civil society groups. In 2008, following an attack in Mumbai (26/11), the government wanted to amend the UAPA by borrowing from earlier counter-terrorism legislations, such as POTA or TADA, that had been allowed to lapse or been repealed because they had led to serious rights violations.
UAPA met the same resistance and led to similar misuse by the powers that be prompting scores of human right activists and civil society organisations to demand repeal of what they claimed is the draconian act.
Ahead of the 2012 amendment, the Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisation’s (CDRO) All India Convention against the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act – UAPA – had organised a day long convention in July 2010 in Delhi that adopted a resolution: “The UAPA is a piece of legislation whose purpose is far removed from any notion of justice. This law is designed to give the state limitless power to choose the group, the section, the political opinion that it wishes to describe as criminal and to attack it with legislated violence. Hence the UAPA is merely a weapon in the hands of governments masquerading as a statute of the judicial system. Through this law, governments have obtained the power to label whatever organisations they find uncomfortable as unlawful and terrorist.”
Basheer reminded that in a recent judgement in Hubli case, out of 17 accused, four were Malayalees and the court acquitted them after seven years holding that the prosecution had miserably failed in proving the charges. “After seven years, the court says that they are innocent. Their life has gone; their future has gone and their career has gone. Who is going to compensate all these things?” the IUML leader said and further added, “Not only that, but similar cases are appearing in every part of the country. Youths are arrested. Without filing charge sheets, they are kept in jails. It is a denial of their rights. Hence, I urge upon the government to repeal the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.”