This piece comments on the Bhima Koregaon arrests, the multitude of problems with the UAPA as well as its empirically evident history of sinister targeting of those defending the powerless against State excesses. UAPA criminalises ideology and association. By virtue of declaring an organisation 'unlawful’ or/and ‘terrorist’ and banning them, it criminalises their ideologies de facto” and verily creates a regime of thought crimes. A disturbing pattern of targeting those working for the rights of minorities subscribing to ideologies at variance with that of the dominant state brass emerges if one were to look at those who were detained for years under the UAPA.
'We the undersigned civil society organisations/ groups/ collectives, have jointly convened this urgent Press Conference to condemn the appalling state actions of reprisals against noted human rights activists and intellectuals, which are clearly politically motivated and an attempt to stifle voices of dissent. The unjustified raids on and arbitrary arrests of the above public spirited individuals who have tirelessly worked for the cause of the poor and marginalized sections of society, are nothing but an attack on Indian democracy and an attempt to undermine the democratic fabric of our society.'
As a lawyer I believe in the Rule of Law and not in media trials. So I prefer to continue going about my work and duties as a trade unionist, a lawyer and a teacher; serving people as best I can and as I have been doing for the past three decades. Let my love for my country and its citizens speak, not through words, but through my work.
Paired with the fact that a suit can be filed at any of the 600 district courts across the nation, Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code prima facie seems facilitative of abuse and harassment. This misuse was pre-empted by the Section’s drafting committee which feared that it might be used to target not just the ‘scurrilous scribbler’, but also any form criticism or mere comment upon religious matters.
Umar Khalid blamed the hate news channels that normalise everyday violence against those who question the government in his statement on camera after the incident at Constitution Club, the heart of the national capital. He said he remembered his mentor, the slain journalist Gauri Lankesh when he was attacked.
The SMCH can reasonably be construed to be a surveillance mechanism encompassing the entire digital space, laying the groundwork for an information system where it only flows from a Statist source, with all dissenters silenced into fear of State sanction.
The J&K bureaucrat’s resolve to not back down has initiated discourse regarding the Government gagging its employees via draconian laws, the importance of Fundamental Rights, and why Rules such as those in question need to be struck down as they deprive individuals of their civil liberties.
The petition contends that the SMCH aims at creating an advanced surveillance infrastructure via which the Government could “monitor” and “cut to size” all individuals who critique the government via social media, rather than its stated objective of being an analytical tool aiding the Ministry to gauge the effectiveness of its social media campaigns.