Skip to main content

PUCL meet cites NIA notice to farmer protesters, demands repeal of UAPA

By Our Representative

Senior activists from the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), along with around 100 organisations, which began a three day virtual consultation on human rights issues, have demanded repeal of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act, stating that these laws are being used as a tool to finish democracy and silence dissent.
V Suresh, PUCL general secretary, stated that UAPA has reversed every element of the principle of natural justice. The accused has to prove his or her innocence, illegal detention is justified for more than six months, bail grounds are not what the same as in other criminal laws, and even prima facie involvement in a case leads to denial of bail.
Suresh noted, UAPA has become a tool to silence dissenters and as a means to throw them in prison and deny them their civil liberties indefinitely. If earlier the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) was brazenly used on Muslims and tribals, mainly to persecute activists, dubbing them as terrorists and Maoists, ever since 2004, a more stringent UAPA seeks to target not only Muslim, tribals and Dalits, but also intellectuals, political critics, trade unionists, lawyers and activists who are do constitutional work.
PUCL vice president Mihir Desai, an eminent human rights lawyer, pointed towards how the NIA Act and the National Intelligence Grid or NATGRID are being used to further persecute those targeted, asserting, there was a complete invasion of the privacy of those who came under the radar of these agencies. NATGRID collects information from 12 agencies and people are subjected to constant surveillance.
Activists from the Human Rights Forum and the Civil Liberties Committee, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, made a presentation on what is happening in the two states which are non-BJP. Even the most basic tool of human rights work, like fact finding, is being criminalised.
Advocate Madhava Rao, citing various FIRs, explained how the targeting of activists has become a norm. Random statements from anyone are used in order to pick up anyone and blame human rights activists for distributing seditious materials or being associated with a Maoist organisation.
Advocates Kranti Chaitanya and V Raghunath said, even those working for simple developmental issues like education, health, food security etc. are being targeted. Those fighting against caste violence are under constant threat of being booked under UAPA. People are thrown into jail for years together before bail is granted, and those facing persecution include students, Dalits, tribals, women, civil liberty activists and environmentalists.
N Ravi Sharma, who earlier spent seven years in jail, and more recently was behind bars for eight months for forming an anti-Hindutva front with several organisation, said, the police operates with instructions from above. Holding different views is enough for you to be incarcerated.
Swechata Prabhakar, referring to her father D Prabhakar of the Kula Unmulan Pareta Samiti, said he found himself in jail as he challenged caste violence and was dubbed Maoist.
National Intelligence Grid is being used to persecute activists, invade into  privacy of those who come under its radar
A presentation by activists from Delhi pointed towards the violence in the national capital following demonstrations against the Citizenship Amendment Act, Nation Register of Citizens and National Population Register (CAA, NRC and NPR), stating, the Government of India is criminalising protests, much against the core principles of the Indian Constitution relating to the freedom of speech and expression.
Advocate Shahrukh Alam compared various judgements on the right to protest, including the judgement on the Shaheen Bagh road block, with the American jurisprudence on protest. He said, the comparison makes is crystal clear that a road block due to protest is equivalent to traffic block, and the offense is no greater than that. It is not a criminal act, even though in Delhi those participating in protests have been branded as terrorists.
Nadeem Khan of the United Against Hate, detailing the profiles of the 23 arrested persons under UAPA, most of them aged under 35, said, more than 400 people have been summoned by the Special Cell of the Delhi police in order to fix confessions. Those refusing to consent are threatened that they would face jail sentence, thus creating a culture of fear.
Well-known academic Apoorvanand said that any person who agrees with anti-CAA protesters and criticises Delhi police, such as Yogendra Yadav, Rahul Roy, Harsh Mander, are harassed. Lawyer Mehmood Pracha, who was representing many clients of the Delhi riots, is harassed by Delhi police in a most tyrannical manner.
Speaking about how those involved in farmers’ struggle are being harassed, advocate Guneet Kaur said that at least 100 protesters have been sent NIA notices. The nature of interrogation consists of people being called to Delhi and asked to submit their bank account details.
A massive intelligence exercise has been undertaken to target farmer-activists. The FIRs are vague, claiming that the farmers’ protesters are getting money from banned organisations like Sikhs for Justice and Babar Khalsa to promote terrorism, she added.

Comments

TRENDING

India reaches 8th of 10 stage genocide: US Muslim advocacy group raises 'alert'

By Hena Zuberi* India has reached the 8th stage of genocide with the persecution of the Muslim community. Stating this, Professor Greg Stanton, who heads Genocide Watch, declared a Genocide Emergency Alert for India today at Justice For All online briefing.

Mayawati's 'success' depends on how BSP taps new crop of young Amdekarite leaders

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Whatever be the election results in Uttar Pradesh on March 10, it is extremely important to understand: that the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and its leader Mayawati have the potential to rise like a Phoenix any time.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Anti-poor? 'Cumbersome' to link aadhaar, voter ID for people sans internet access

By Prashant Kumar Chaudhary, Ajit Kumar Jaiswal*  At present, technology plays an increasingly crucial part in modelling human existence by offering a variety of solutions to many of the challenges individuals confront in the real world. As a result, every branch of research works to provides means to solve these difficulties precisely and efficiently. The Central government works along the same lines as well.

India's actual Covid death rate about 2500 per million, third highest in world: Study

By Rajiv Shah  There is now well-researched proof, if it can be called that, indicating that the Government of India may have fudged data to show lower Covid death rate. A new paper, published in “Science”, has said that while officially the Government of India’s Covid-related death estimates as of January 1, 2022 – 345 per million population – are one-seventh of the US death rate, the actual analysis of crude death rate in India suggests, this may be a gross underestimation. 

Democratic leaders silently greeting Modi's 'increasingly autocratic' rule: HRW

Counterview Desk The Human Rights Watch (HRW)’s new “World Report 2022: Events of 2021”, claiming to “investigate abuses, expose facts widely, and pressure those with power to respect rights and secure justice”, has identified India as one of the countries where “autocracy is ascendant and democracy on the decline” because of emergence of leaders with autocratic tendencies.

Barbaric, inhuman attack on Odisha villagers to implement JSW project: NGO networks

Counterview Desk  A “solidarity statement" issued by three top civil society networks, Friends of the Earth India (FoE India), Delhi Solidarity Group (DSG) and the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), has asked the Odisha chief minister to ensure that the “inhumane barbaric attack on the villagers of Dhinkia, Odisha” in order to implement a corporate project.

Gender insensitive? Model Gujarat's cyclone relief package ignores 40,000 fisherwomen

CSJ volunteers talking to fisherwomen By Rajiv Shah  A Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) note on the Gujarat government’s compensation package to the victims of the devastating Tauktae cyclone, which hit the coastal belt of Saurashtra's Amerli, Rajula, Una, and Gir-Somnath districts in May 2021, has said, the relief offered was so terribly inadequate that many of the fisherfolk were not able to fish for the rest of the year.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Haridwar call for genocide direct result of Modi 'tolerating' Islamophobic policies

By Our Representative  A high-level briefing organised in Washington DC, in which as many as 17 human rights and interfaith organizations -- including Amnesty International USA, Genocide Watch and Hindus for Human Rights, apart from several persons in their individual capacity -- participated, has come down heavily on what they called "Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Islamophobic policies and tolerance of open incitement by Hindu extremists for a genocide of Muslims."