‘Repeal UAPA’: Students, Akal Takht Slam Punjab Govt for Use of ‘Draconian’ Laws Against Sikh Youth

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Punjab government of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh slammed by Students For Society (SFS) and Akhal Takht Jathedar for for rampant use of controversial laws UAPA against Sikh youth.

According to Students For Society president Harmandeep Singh, the government of Captain Amrinder Singh in Punjab using ‘draconian’ UAPA against Sikh youths and framing them as Khalistanis.

Clarion India

CHANDIGARH — A student association at Punjab University has slammed the state government for rampant use of controversial laws days after the death of a youth, Lovepreet Singh.

Singh is believed to have committed suicide due to the stress he underwent after he was slapped with the anti-terror law UAPA for his alleged links with the Khalistan, a separatist insurgency in Punjab.

His death has brought attention to the case of sedition and use of UAPA against 30 men, mostly in their 20s in Punjab.

Students For Society (SFS) said that if the case was probed properly, “the charges would come out as baseless, superficial and eclectic as UAPA & National Investigation Agency (NIA) cases against anti CAA-NRC protesters, including students, political activists, Women, Muslims and Dalits”.

“This isn’t a new phenomenon as two years ago, three Sikhs youth were falsely implicated by the Punjab police in Nawanshahr case on the manufactured pretext of waging a war against the state because they had some “Khalistani literature”, a statement by the group alleged.

Speaking with Clarion India, SFS president Harmandeep Singh said the government of Captain Amrinder Singh was resorting to the use of UAPA against Sikh youths and framing them as Khalistanis.

Recalling the incident of how Congress launched a campaign against Arvind Kejriwal during the last assembly polls to consolidate the Hindu vote after he stopped at the house of an ex-Khalistani, Harmandeep accused the Congress of using the politics of Hindutva to fulfill its goals in Punjab.

According to an estimate put out in the statement by the student group, “more than 50 Sikh families have been framed since the Captain-led Congress government assumed power in Punjab in just three years.”

Meanwhile, Giani Harpreet Singh Akhal Takht Jathedar alleged that the Punjab government was using UAPA to create an environment of fear in the state. He said he was disappointed that the government was using UAPA against Sikh youths over petty mistakes or sometimes without any reason. “By using tough laws for small mistakes, the police was destroying the lives of youth.”

He appealed to the Central and the state government to stop the witch-hunt of Sikh youths. He also urged the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, a management body for Gurdwaras, to provide legal support to the youths booked under UAPA.

The student group alleged that the Congress government in Punjab was “intensifying its campaign against Sikhs under the predetermined and preconceived polarizing narrative of the Khalistani module busting to serve the Brahminical Hindutva agenda of the Indian state as theBJP and the RSS are doing in the rest of India by polarizing on the basis of xenophobia and anti-National narrative”.

The students see a nefarious design of the government at the Centre “to satiate its Hindutva forces to erect a Hindu Rashtra.” They said this was being done to divert the attention of people from the real issues of confronting the economy and to stifle genuine democracy and political aspiration of different nationalities.

“We need to understand that this is the same Brahminical  Hindutva agenda of India which the BJP and the Congress Govt in Punjab are fulfilling at Center and State, respectively. We must demarcate the facade of “Ruling Party” and understand the true Brahminical Majoritarian nature of the Indian State.” SFS said in the statement.

Similarly to this end, UAPA, AFSPA and other draconian laws are consistently being drafted and used against people who are waging the struggle for justice, the statement said, adding that the people are being branded as anti-nationals, traitors, militants and then framed in cases under serious charges.

Many activists have been put behind bars without trials under similar cases. Professor Anand Teltumbe, Gautam Navlakha, Surendra Gadling, Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Sudha Bharadwaj, etc. have been languishing in jail without trial. In addition, anti CAA-NRC protesters, particularly Muslims like Sharjeel Imam, Sharjeel Usmani, Safoora Zargar, Gulfisha, etc., have been prima facie falsely implicated and jailed with inordinate delay in trials.

“It must be noted that the National Investigation Agency is notoriously known for grave human rights violations and inherent antipathy for minorities particularly Muslims and Sikhs. Last year, amendments in UAPA and NIA 2019 conferred extra-judicial powers and institutional impunity to implicate individuals as terrorists and seize his or her property by circumventing due process of law which has been vehemently used to frame student activists under the pretext of Delhi Pogrom.” the group said.

The students alleged that the Modi government was using COVID lockdown as an  “opportunity” to push forward the privatisation of the public sector, “From Railways, banking sector to agriculture sector have been thrown open to the lust of parasitic imperialist foreign investors. To implement these anti-labour, anti-farmer and above all, anti-people legislations, the government  is lashing itself with more dictatorial powers to be used against poor and marginalised struggling people.”

The student group alleged that the “BJP government in Center and the Congress government Punjab are trying to create an atmosphere of fear by unleashing unbearable agony and pain on Sikhs in Punjab and Muslims and political activists across the country. And, the draconian laws like UAPA are a tool of State repression against the dissenting voices and to hide or divert attention from its failure on all fronts.”

The group appealed the activists “to  forge an alliance of democratic, progressive and revolutionary forces on some common minimum program to collectively resist the open dictatorship of fascist Hindutva forces led by BJP-RSS and followed as diligently by Congress too, and to launch a campaign to nullify all blacks laws like UAPA and AFSPA and release all political prisoners.”

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