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Campaign to focus on 'illegal' detentions, 'weaponizing' criminal justice system

By Our Representative

In an "announcement" on August 9, which happens to be the International Day for Indigenous People and the Quit India movement day, 165 to rights groups from all over the country, including 50 national networks, have demanded the repeal of all the "draconian" laws, including the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), the release of all political prisoners, the restoration of the right to bail, compensation for all those booked under these laws and justice for Fr Stan Swamy.
In a pledge to be taken on the 74th Independence Day for August 15, they said, they would "defend the legacy of our freedom movement, the spirit of the Preamble and the values of our Constitution" as also "campaign for repealing all draconian laws and assert the right to bail of every citizen."
"We believe that the right to question and the right to dissent are the foundation of our democratic, secular and socialist republic", the pledge said, adding, 'We commit to campaign against all ideologies, laws, and state actions that deprive us of the freedoms of speech and opinion, conscience, association, and to non-violent opposition."
Giving a countrywide call for wide action, the 165 organisations said, their "intensive campaign" would last be for a week from August 15 to 28, and they would go in for "street action" to defend the right to dissent, repeal the sedition law, UAPA and other repressive state laws, even as seeking restoration of the right to bail and justice for Stan Swamy.
In a joint statement, they said, "State repression and attacks on right to dissent and the Constitution are growing. UAPA, National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Act, 2019 and other draconian laws are being used as instruments of repression."
It added, "More than 165 organisations and civil society networks are undertaking a countrywide action campaign (August 15-28) to protest against the institutional murder of Stan Swamy and the repression. As part of this campaign, programmes were organised across the country on 23 July to demand justice for Stan Swamy."
It's sixfold demands include Justice for Stan Swamy, repeal of UAPA, sedition section and all other draconian laws, including state laws that allow preventive detention, restoration of the right to bail, release all political prisoners, accountability for filing false cases and compensation to victims, and stopping illegal detentions and weaponizing the criminal justice system.
The statement said, "Country-wide protests and various action programmes will be organised in this campaign on August 9 and during August 15-28. August 9 is international day for world’s indigenous people. It is also the day on which the Quit Indian movement started in 1942."
Especially referring to Stan Swamy, it asserted, he "dedicated his life for Adivasi rights and struggles for jal, jangal and zameen", seeking support for organise programmes "to protest against Stan Swamy’s murder, and for protection of Adivasi rights and the democracy".
It insisted, "Organisations and networks can organise programmes in this period and on these dates as per their convenience", asking them to "try to share the photos, videos and brief details of the programmes with the social media team on WhatsApp or email so that these can be shared widely on social media on behalf of the organising groups."

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