Repeal UAPA: activists

Activists on Friday demanded the repeal of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, terming it “unusual and unconstitutional”.

At a public meeting organised here by the People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR), trade union and civil rights activist Sudha Bhardwaj said, “Any dissenting movement that the government does not wish to tolerate is termed unlawful… Whoever they want to stop, they put the label and then charge the persons under this unusual law and arrest the leaders.”

The activists said the Act, passed to regulate the activities of unlawful organisations, has been used by the government to curb extremist activities as opposed to unlawful activities.

The activists argued that people were being linked to organisations without proper investigation or evidence by application of provisions of the UAPA. Moreover, if being a member of an association leads to the application of UAPA, then the term “membership” should be defined clearly, they contended.

Ms. Bhardwaj said the most brutal manner of application of the UAPA has been against Muslim youth. Explaining the scope of the law, she said, “I will not be surprised if in the future the farmers’ movement is also declared unlawful under this Act”.

“UAPA is unconstitutional if read within the context of the Constitution,” said Supreme Court advocate Gautam Bhatia.

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