8 February 2014
New Delhi, India (March 06, 2014): A massively attended conference was organized by People’s Movement against UAPA on March 05.According to information about five thousand participants had gathered at Talkatora Stadium, New Delhi from different parts of India assembled to voice their protest against the unlawful law UAPA demanded its early repeal and sought a commitment from political parties in this regard well before forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Representative groups of UAPA victims from different places also reached the Conference to share their woeful experiences under police custody and jail. The meeting was addressed by prominent political party leaders, human rights activists, marginalised and minority community representatives. This massive conference was organised by the newly formed common platform namely People’s Movement Against UAPA with Moulana Muhamed Wali Rahimani as chairman, Kamal Faruqui as Convener and E Abubacker as Vice Chairman.
The resolution passed by the Conference pointed out that the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act of 1967 after successive amendments made in 2004, 2008 and 2012 contains clauses that are against the basic tenets of Indian constitution and principles of human rights and natural justice. By making amendments to the original act in the name of fighting terrorism, the Indian parliament has incorporated the draconian provisions of lapsed special laws such as TADA and POTA into a general law. Basic democratic rights like freedom of speech and expression and right to form association are being violated by the clauses of this law. The resolution also condemned all types of terrorism by non-state and state actors.
Those who spoke in the Conference reminded that the basic reason for arbitrary arrests and continued detention and torture of innocents is the legal sanction contained in UAPA. It is evident that unless and until this law is withdrawn, the lamentable stories of jailed innocents will continue. This law is widely used against innocent people mostly hailing from marginalised Tribal, Dalit, Muslim, Sikh and Christian communities and they are languishing in different jails in India under UAPA without even getting statutory bail. Even people involved in raising legitimate protest and democratic resistance from marginalised sections and even the working classes are targeted under this draconian act.
The former repressive laws like TADA and POTA were withdrawn when people stood up and acted against the severe and drastic abuses under those laws. According to various leaders who addressed the audience, in spite of the frequent and large scale persecution of innocents by administration and police under UAPA, most political parties have not yet taken a strong stand in favour the victims. The Conference resolution alleged that governments at the Centre and States have so far ignored the demand for the repeal of UAPA.
Prior to the massive gathering, a get-together of UAPA victims was held in the same venue. A group of lawyers and activists interacted with them and collected details with an intention of follow up support.
This platform called PEOPLE’S MOVEMENT AGAINST UAPA was launched by a representative group of concerned citizens in a meeting held at New Delhi on 23-01-2014 for this purpose. Within the short span of last six weeks, the central delegation of the Movement visited the following state capitals namely Thiruvananthapuram, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Bhopal, Jaipur, Lucknow and Patna and interacted with top political leaders and government functionaries. Public programmes and press conferences were also held at the above places and also in other cities like Varanasi and Ludhiana.
On 21 February, the Night Vigil Day, public gatherings holding lit torches and candles were held in 355 places across the nation. As per the available reports, more than 2 lakhs post cards were sent to the Chairperson of UPA as part of the campaign. The campaign posters, booklets, pamphlets, handbills etc were published in most of the Indian languages such as Hindi, Urdu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu, Marathi, Bengali and Manipuri. A street drama and corner meetings were arranged in different localities of Delhi. During the campaign in many places, the victims of UAPA and their relatives shared their sufferings.
The People’s Conference in the capital city was concluded with a firm declaration that the movement will be further strengthened across the country till the inhuman law UAPA is removed.
Senior Advocate Rajwinder Singh Bains, Advocate Jaspal Singh Manjhpur and Akali Dal Panch Pardhani leader Bhai Mandhir Singh also participated in the conference.
Advocate Rajwinder Singh Bains called upon people to unity raise opposition to the UAPA.
Advocate Jaspal Singh Manjhpur, who himself is a victim of UAPA said that around 180 persons are facing charges in 80 cases registered under UAPA in Punjab.