Rights Activists Meet Under MURL, Demand Repeal of All Repressive Laws

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Releasing report of summary of latest data about UAPA cases published by NCRB during the seminar.

They call upon Centre to heed UN body’s advice, read NCRB report and take steps to save people from repressions under UAPA

Pervez Bari | Clarion India

BHOPAL — A demand to repeal all repressive laws has been made by the Movement Against the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and other Repressive Laws (MURL). The MURL is a joint platform of activists and groups for mobilising public opinion against these laws. It passed resolutions to this effect in a seminar held in Chennai the other day.

The above demand was made by human rights activists and advocates, who discussed the UAPA, Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act, National Securities Act (NSA) and sedition law at a seminar on “Repressive laws under BJP Regime”.

The resolutions demanded from the Centre to act upon the recent UN Human Rights Council statement and NCRB report about UAPA by initiating steps to save people from repressions under this law. The participants expressed concerns about the trends of the judiciary against granting bail to the accused who are jailed under UAPA and other repressive laws. They urged the government to provide compensation and take legal action against investigation officers in the cases which end up in acquittal. The activists sought a time-frame to conclude trials in these cases.

According to the latest data published by the National Crime Records Bureau, (NCRB), overall, 796 cases have been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in 2020. Besides, 4,071 cases were pending investigation till 2019 and 10 cases were reopened for investigation. In total, 4,827 cases are pending.

Social activist from Kerala E.M. Abdul Rahiman in his introductory speech said that not only minorities, but even journalists, human rights activists and all those who are raising their voice against the policies of the government are being targeted under these laws. He said that the government is suppressing the voices of the people who are raising their voice against the policies of the government. The people who have been arrested and kept under trial under these oppressive laws have only very few convictions. These oppressive laws are against the people, against the country and against the Constitution of India, he said..

Prof. A. Marx, chairperson of National Confederation of Human Rights Organisation, (NCHRO), and Tamil Nadu president of MURL, said that it is the duty of every Indian to defend the Constitution by fighting the draconian laws that are against the Constitution. He reiterated that UAPA and all other repressive laws are against the letter and spirit of the Constitution.

Gurmeet Singh Juj, a farmer leader from Punjab, felt the farm laws completely violate the rights of the farmers. Efforts are being made to arrest them in false cases under these laws, he charged. He demanded the withdrawal of three anti-farmer laws, as well as the withdrawal of all those oppressive laws.

Adv. K. P. Mohammad Shareef highlighted the repressive provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). He said the main threat contained in the PMLA is that both powers of investigation and adjudication are being given to a single agency, which ultimately leads to deeper misuse. He enumerated various repressive provisions contained in PMLA, some of which are more dangerous than the procedures of other repressive laws.

Rajesh Ningthoukhongajam, a rights activist from Manipur, underlined the “blatant misuse” of the AFSPA for the last 53 years in Manipur. Pendency rate of cases for trial in the courts is 94.4 per cent, the activists said.

Adv. Mohamed Yusuff, central committee member of MURL who moderated the seminar, said that acquittal rate is five times more than conviction. Out of 142 cases disposed of by the courts, only 27 were convicted with the rate of 21.1 per cent; 14 cases were abated; in 2 cases, the accused were discharged and 99 cases ended in acquittals. He also released a report “Summary of Latest Data about UAPA Cases published by NCRB on the occasion.

At the outset, a welcome address was delivered by Sadique Qureshi (Coordinator, MURL) while later in the end vote of thanks was proposed by Kasali Meeran (Secretary TN, MURL).

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