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SDPI demands withdrawal of draconian clauses of UAPA & enactment of Prevention of Communal Violence Bill

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By Pervez Bari

Bhopal: The Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), while expressing deep concern over the addition of very harsh clauses by the Parliament in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, (UAPA), 2008, has insisted its immediate withdrawal forthwith. It also demanded immediate enactment of “Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice & Reparations) Bill 2011” by the Parliament in the current session.

SDPI national president E. Abubacker in a statement has urged the Congress-led UPA Government and the members of the Parliament across the board to pass an amendment bill withdrawing the 2008 additions to UAPA in the ongoing winter session itself.

The statement pointed out that the new clauses authorize the creation of special courts with wide discretion to hold in-camera hearing and use secret witnesses against the accused. Warrant-less search, seizure and arrest with wide authority and few safeguards and compulsion of information from third parties without a court order are some other provisions that are against natural justice. The UAPA as now allows detention without charge of up to 180 days, including up to 30 days in police custody, and create a strong presumption against granting bail. The government can ban any organization by simply enlisting in the Schedule of UAPA. This is a grave violation of the freedom of association guaranteed under fundamental rights in the Indian Constitution.

Abubacker asserted the illegal arrests and indefinite detention of innocents as under-trials cannot be ended, unless these draconian clauses are completely withdrawn from UAPA.
He alleged that new draconian clauses have conferred the powers on the government which could be easily abused to permit prosecution of mass organisations or non-governmental organisations working in communities allegedly associated with banned groups.

Abubacker said it is a welcome sign that many members of the Parliament and a number of political parties like CPI (M), CPI, RJD and LJP have taken a stand against draconian clauses of UAPA.

Meanwhile, the Central government should not bow down to the demands of those who are opposing the “Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice & Reparations) Bill 2011” tooth and nail for ulterior motives. The UPA government has to fulfil its promise to bring the legislation against communal violence in the Parliament at the earliest and get it passed, the statement stated.

Abubacker cautioned the Union Government that precautions should be taken to safe guard the federal system of the country while implementing the provisions of the Bill to be enacted into an Act so that it is not weakened.

And also, in no circumstances the NGOs should be allowed to enjoy executive powers of the government under the provisions of the Bill. Since it is experienced nowadays that armed forces too are involved in such atrocities, they also should be brought under the purview of the proposed Act, he further added.

[Pervez Bari is a senior Journalist based at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Madhya Pradesh). He can be contacted at pervezbari@eth.net]
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