Civil Society Leaders Condemn Use of UAPA Against Anti-CAA/NRC Protesters, Demand Delhi Police to Withdraw Cases
NEW DELHI, APRIL 23— Eminent figures associated with the civil initiative Hum Bharat Ke Log have issued a joint statement condemning the use of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) against youth leaders of anti-CAA-NRC-NPR protests. Terming the invocation of UAPA and the colonial sedition laws against these people as “inherently illegal”, the civil society people have demanded the Delhi Police to withdraw these cases.
“We, the undersigned, associated with Hum Bharat Ke Log, denounce and strongly condemn the move by the Union Government to charge former student of JNU, Dr. Umar Khalid and arrest Jamia students Meeran Haider & Safoora Zargar and other student and youth leaders who led and participated in the peaceful protests and civil disobedience movements across the country, including Delhi. Media reports suggest that they have been charged under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act,” they said in a joint statement on Thursday.
Hum Bharat Ke Log was at the forefront of nationwide protests against the government move to implement NPR, NRC and CAA.
“The protesters against NPR, NRC and CAA acted in accordance with their fundamental rights as conferred by the Constitution of India and hence the invocation of UAPA and the colonial Sedition laws are inherently illegal. This amounts to wrongful exercise of authority against lawful acts of citizens,” they said.
They termed the government move to charge these youths under UAPA as “an attempt to crush the movement.”
“It is clear that the Government is trying to intimidate the leading anti-NPR/NRC/CAA protestors in an attempt to crush the movement, forgetting that India is the land of Gandhi where Satyagarha is still alive. No matter how cruel be the action of the Government, the protestors will continue to raise their voice in peace and with greater determination,” they said.
They charged that the government, instead of focusing on the fight against Coronavirus, “is conspiring to crush people’s movements by incarcerating activists.”
The civil society leaders have made three demands:
1- The Delhi Police must clarify whether and on what grounds have these activists been charged under UAPA.
2- The Union government stop this harassment, and Delhi Police immediately withdraw these charges
3- Those who were actually responsible for issuing communally charged statements ahead of Delhi violence must be held accountable and punished as per law.
“At a time of such grave abuse of state power, we call on every citizen and every political party to stand together to protect our democracy. We ask the media to stand for the truth,” reads the joint statement signed by the following: