The Movement against UAPA and other Repressive Laws (MURL) has organized a National Seminar on REPRESSIVE LAWS UNDER BJP REGIME on Saturday, 18th September 2021 evening from 4:00 to 6:30 pm at Madras Reporters Guild, Chennai. The programme was attended by hundreds of activists. The seminar called upon all sections of the society, especially those groups targeted by the present BJP government, to fight together for the repeal of all repressive laws.
Movement Against UAPA and Other Repressive Laws (MURL) is a joint platform of activists and groups for mobilizing public opinion against these laws. MURL aims to extend support to the innocent victims of these draconian laws due to political vendetta. The seminar was part of series of activities by MURL to strengthen the efforts towards repealing all repressive laws like UAPA, AFSPA, PSA, Sedition Law, NIA Act, PMLA, & NSA which are grossly misused to suppress the voices of dissent.
The Seminar was moderated by Adv. A. Mohamed Yusuff, Central Committee Member, MURL. Welcome note was given by Sadique Qureshi (Coordinator, MURL). Introductory Speech delivered by E.M. Abdul Rahiman, Vice Chairperson, MURL. Prof. A. Marx, Chair Person of NCHRO and State President of MURL, Tamilnadu, Mr. Gurmeet Singh Juj (Punjab), Adv. K.P. Mohamad Shareef (Central Committee member, MURL), Mr. Ashish Gupta, (Delhi) Adv. Bavani Ba. Mohan, State President of NCHRO, Mrs. Pallibi Ghosh (Assam), Mr. Rajesh Ningthoukhongajam rights activist from Manipur, Adv. A. Yusuff (Central Committee member MURL) etc spoke in the seminar. Vote of thanks was given by Kasali Meeran (Secretary Taminadu MURL).
E.M. Abdul Rahiman in his introductory speech said that the government is suppressing the voices of the people who are raising their voice against the policies of the government. The people who have been arrested and kept under trial under these oppressive laws have only very few convictions. These oppressive laws are against the people, against the country and against the Constitution. Now not only Muslim minorities are becoming victims of these repressive laws but other groups like journalists, human rights activists and all those who are raising their voice against the policies of the government are being targeted. There are many organizations which are working in the interest of the country, for the protection of people’s rights. Their ideology and strategy are different, but it does not mean that we can achieve the result by working alone. We should forget all differences and come together and raise our voice against oppressive laws and policies of the present BJP government.
Prof. A. Marx, Chair Person of NCHRO and State President of MURL, Tamilnadu, reiterated that UAPA and all other repressive laws are against the letter and spirit of the Indian constitution. As responsible and law abiding citizens it is the duty of every Indian to defend the constitution by fighting the draconian laws that are against the constitution. He called upon all activists and groups to come together putting a stronger fight.
Singh Juj a farmer leader from Punjab, said that the Government of India by making anti-people laws, is openly violating the rights given by the Indian Constitution. The laws that have been made against the farmers by the Government of India completely violate of the rights of the farmers and the farmers have been running a movement for a long time. Efforts are being made against them through black laws and to arrest them in false cases. He demanded the withdrawal of three anti-farmer laws, as well as the withdrawal of all those oppressive laws.
Adv. K.P. Mohamad Shareef (Central Committee member, MURLM) highlighted one of the less discussed law called Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). He enumerated various repressive provisions contained in PMLA, some of which are more dangerous than the procedures of other repressive laws. The main threat contained in the PMLA is that both powers of investigation and adjudication are being given to a single agency which ultimately leads to deeper misuse as we are now witnessing in present India.
Ashish Gupta, journalist and social activist from Delhi, said that under the UAPA Act, such people are being prosecuted who raise the voice of the people and write for their rights. Bhīma Koregaon and the anti-CA movement are living examples in which the government has put them in jails by making fake cases to suppress the voice of their opponents. All these black laws can be removed only through mass movements. He demanded that the Government of India should immediately abolish all such laws,
Adv. Bavani Ba. Mohan, State President of NCHRO stated that at present the BJP has become very strong. They are leaving no stone unturned to misuse every law available against their opposition and the dissenting organizations and individuals. Now an individual can be arrested under UAPA even on an accused intention. The sad part is that even our MPs and MLAs are unaware of the dangerous depth of these laws.
Ms. Pallabi Ghosh, a rights activist from Assam said that under AFSPA, many powers have been given to paramilitary forces who indiscriminately violate human rights. This law is depriving people of their rights in the provinces of the North East. Irom Sharmila sat on hunger strike for 16 years to remove this law, yet the government remained unmoved. She demanded the Government of India that the black law AFSPA should be removed from the North-East regions with immediate effect.
Mr. Sandeep Nimesh, a rights activist from Uttar Pradesh, explained the manner in which anti-incumbency people are being targeted by imposing sedition sections in the country. Uttar Pradesh is in the forefront in this matter where the ruling BJP government has imposed sedition cases on protesters indiscriminately as a means of suppression.
Mr. Rajesh Ningthoukhongajam, a rights activist from Manipur from Manipur explained the use of AFSPA for the last 53 years in Manipur, which grants the Indian armed forces special powers to kill on mere suspicion, search without warrant, destroy property, institutionalize impunity, blatantly violate the rights to life, right against torture, right against arbitrary detention and right to fair trial.
Adv. A. Yusuff (Central Committee member MURL), released a report “Summary of Latest Data about UAPA Cases published by NCRB”. The seminar adopted the following resolution on different issues.
- Demanding Government of India to act upon the recent UN Human Rights Council statement & NCRB report about UAPA by initiating steps to save people from repressions under this law.
- Expressing concerns about the trends of judiciary against granting bail to the accused who are jailed under UAPA and other repressive laws.
- Empathising the importance of broad alliance and joint actions among all sections and groups victimised by repressive laws.
- Demanding the central and state governments to release all political and rights activist unconditionally.
- Demanding governments to stop intervention on the freedom of expression and freedom of religion.
- Demanding government to give compensation and take legal action against investigation officers in the cases those who are acquittal in UAPA cases after a long time in jail.
- Demanding that in UAPA and other such laws that “there must be some timeline to conclude the trial, and after the specific time limit there must be a provision for default bail like under section 167(2) of Criminal Procedure Code.
Demanding to release all political prisoners across India who have been put behind the bars as part of political vendetta.
Urging the central government to withdraw the three newly enacted anti-farmer laws.
Expressing condolence on the demise of Maulana Mohammed Wali Rahmani who was chairperson of MURL and the institutional murder of tribal rights leader Father Stan Swami who was jailed without granting bail.