Skip to main content

National meet to discuss UAPA changes allowing govt to 'brand' anyone terrorist

Protest against arrest of activists under UAPA for Bhima Koregaon violence
By Our Representative
Several civil society activists have called for a National Convention in Defense of Democratic Rights on August 31-September 1 at Rajendra Bhawan, ITO, New Delhi, especially focusing on the recent amendments to the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), empowering government to brand, without due process, any person 'a terrorist', strengthening of the National Investigation Agency Act (NIA) and the dilution of Protection of Human Rights Act.
The convention, says a statement issued by the Delhi Solidarity Group’s (DSG’s) Priya Pillai and Anil Tharayath, would also focus on the “persistence” with the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, the threat of a nationwide NRC, the undemocratic abrogation of Article 370 and 35A of the Constitution of India and the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir are all steps to legislatively institutionalize an authoritarian state.
The signatories, who include Kavita Krishnan, Harsh Mander, Vimalbhai, Madhuresh Kumar, Vijayan MJ, Kavita Srivastava, Anjali Bharadwaj, and Sumit Chakravorty, claimed that there virtually a “single-party rule in the country”, which is the assault on democratic rights is taking a “totalitarian character.” To give example, it gave the example of the arrest of nine human rights defenders, arrested under the UAPA, since the Bhima Koregaon violence of January 2018, even as its “real perpetrators” roam free.
Pointing out that an “alarming number of nearly 12,000 persons have died -- either in jail or in police custody -- in the last five years of BJP rule”, the statement says, “The use of UAPA and other draconian laws to intimidate and threaten dissenters is not new, but clearly, the situation is steadily worsening. It is challenging to ensure that courts perform their constitutional role and remain vigilant in the protection of democratic and constitutional rights.”
“It is a travesty that Prof GN Saibaba of Delhi University, who is almost completely disabled and now in a very critical health condition, is not even allowed access to medical care whilst in jail”, it says, adding, “In Assam, thousands are being illegally held in ‘detention centres’ for years.”
The statement says, “Several Dalit activists were arrested, brutalized and even killed after the April 2, 2018 protests against the dilution of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. Many are still in jail even today.” It adds, “The daily brutality against Adivasis in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Odisha is on the rise.”

Comments

TRENDING

132 Gujarat citizens, including IIM-A faculty, others declare solidarity with Kashmiris

Counterview Desk
A week after it was floated, 132 activists, academics, students, artists and other concerned citizens of Gujarat, backed by 118 living in different parts of India and the world, have signed a "solidarity letter" supporting the people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), who, it claims, have been silenced and held captive in their own land. The signatories include faculty members and scholars of the prestigious Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A).

Amit Shah 'wrong': Lack of transparency characterized bank frauds, NPAs, jobs data

Counterview Desk
India's senior RTI activists Nikhil Dey, Anjali Bhardwaj, Venktesh Nayak, Rakesh Reddy Dubbudu, Dr. Shaikh Ghulam Rasool, Pankti Jog and Pradip Pradhan, who are attached with the National Campaign for Peoples' Right to Information (NCPRI), have said that Union home minister Amit Shah's claim that the Government of India is committed to transparency stands in sharp contrast to its actual actions.

Untold story of Jammu: Business 'down', students fear lynching, teachers can't speak

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released report, seeking to debunk the view that people in Jammu, the second biggest city of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) after Srinagar, people had gone “out celebrating” abrogation of Article 370 which took away the state’s special status, has reported what it calls “abominably high levels of fear” across all sections in the town.

Kashmiris in a civil disobedience mode, are going against 'diktat' to open shops

Counterview Desk
A team of concerned citizens, including Ludhiana-based psychiatrist and writer Anirudh Kala, Mumbai-based activist and public health professional Brinelle Dsouza, Delhi-based journalist and writer Revati Laul, and social activist Shabnam Hashmi, travelled to Kashmir and Jammu to understand the impact of the abrogation of Article 370 and the subsequent security clampdown and communication blockade on the lives of the people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

Gujarat's incomplete canals: Narmada dam filled up, yet benefits 'won't reach' farmers

By Our Representative
Even as the Gujarat government is making all out efforts to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river up to the full reservoir level (FRL), a senior farmer rights leader has said the huge reservoir, as of today, remains a “mirage for the farmers of Gujarat”.
In a statement, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), has said that though the dam’s reservoir is being filled up, the canal network remains complete. Quoting latest government figures, he says, meanwhile, the command area of the dam has been reduced from 18,45,000 hectares (ha) to 17,92,000 ha.
“According to the website of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which was last updated on Friday, while the main canal, of 458 km long, has been completed, 144 km of ranch canals out of the proposed length of 2731 km remain incomplete.
Then, as against the targeted 4,569 km distributaries, 4,347 km have been constructed, suggesting work for 222 km is still pending. And of the 15,670 km of minor canal…

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

By Our Representative
Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.
Hareshbhai was diagnosed with the disease by the GCS Medical College, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad in 2014. He was found to be suffering from progressive massive fibrosis. He is left behind by his wife Rekha sister and two sons Deepak (18) and Umesh (12),
The death of Hareshbhai, says Jagdish Patel of the health rights group Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), suggests that silicosis, an occupational disease, can be prevented but not cured, and the Factory Act has sufficient provisions to prevent this.
According to Patel, the pottery industry in the industrial town of Thangadh has evolved for a long time and locals as well as migrant workers are employed here. There are abou…

Cess for Gujarat construction workers: Spending less than 10%; no 'direct help' to beneficiaries

By Our Representative
While the Gujarat government’s Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board, set up in 2004, as of March 31, 2019, has collected a total cess of Rs 2,097.62 crore from the the builders, it has spent less than 10% -- Rs 197.17 crore. And, as on May 31, 2019, the total cess collection has reached Rs 2,583.16 crore, said a statement issued by Bandhkam Majur Sagathan general secretary Vipul Pandya.
Pointing out that just about 6.5 lakh out of 20 lakh workers have been registered under the board, Pandya said, vis-à-vis other states, Gujarat ranks No 13th in the amount spent on the welfare of the construction workers, while 11th in the amount collected.
And while the builders are obliged to pay just about 1% of the total cost of their project, the calculation of the cess is flawed: It is Rs 3,000 per square yard; accordingly, Rs 30 per square yard is collected. “Had the cess been collected on the real construction cost, it would have been at least Rs 7,000 cr…