The Lok Sabha has quietly amended the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, a dangerous tool in the hands of any government
When two young women were arrested for a Facebook post questioning the shutdown in Mumbai for Bal Thackeray’s funeral, middle-class fury forced the Maharashtra government to drop the case and suspend two police officers.The Centre also issued a set of guidelines to avoid misuse of the controversial Section 66A of the Information Technology Act. However, even as calls for repeal of the “vague” and “wide” provisions of the IT law that are “susceptible to wanton abuse” grew louder, the government silently pushed through much more controversial amendments to the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in the Lok Sabha, making it further mirror previous draconian laws like POTA and TADA.
The National Security Act, the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, the Unlawful Activities Act, the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act and the Chhattisgargh Public Safety Act should be repealed. Other security legislations should be reviewed in the light of international human rights standards.
A report by the Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) has brought into sharp focus the issue of custodial deaths again. According to the report, “Torture in India 2011”, four custodial deaths occurred daily over the past decade.
I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that at the
present juncture it will not be appropriate for me to receive this
award. My thanks go to those who nominated and to those who selected
me for this award. It was never my intention to give offence or show
disrespect to any of the parties in this controversy. I greatly
regret any inconvenience that the organisers may be put to as a result
of my decision.
When a member of the Release Binayak Sen Now Campaign in the UK nominated Dr. Binayak Sen in April 2011 for the International Gandhi Peace Award in 2011 after consultation with other Campaign members, Dr. Sen was in indeterminate custody sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of sedition under India’s draconian anti-terrorism legislation. The Campaign wished to draw British and international attention to Dr. Sen’s work and plight. Therefore, the letter nominating him put forward the following case: