Sept 16: In order to pressurize parliament to annul existing sedition laws, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has stepped into collect around 10 lac signatures as number of their members and other ‘dissenting’ citizens being slapped with sedition cases.
Addressing the media reporters on Sept 15, Sunday after the National Conclave of PUCL, Binayak Sen, who has been arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for alleged link with Maoist, stood testimony to the misuse of these laws. Though my case has hit the news, and I have got the bail subsequently after being convicted for life under sedition, there are thousands of people across the country, who are languishing in Jails,” Dr Sen who is providing medical aid to tribals said.
National General Secretary V. Suresh said the signature campaign would create awareness among the public about the misuse of sedition laws (Section 124 (a) of IPC). “Even though we have a democratic set up, the Indian government is yet to repeal the laws; while, Britain which had introduced sedition laws here, have repealed it in their country,” he said, adding that the organization has begun the process of accumulating data on sedition cases to strengthen their argument.
Report on UP violence
Meanwhile, the organization will constitute a national fact-finding committee to analyze the causes and effect of the recent communal violence in Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh. The members said communal violence was increasing in an effort to polarize voters before the general elections in 2014.
Among the four major resolution passed during the PUCL conclave are: creating awareness among people to reclaim an “embattled” democracy; address the issues of communal violence; creating a human rights mandate that should be adhered to by political parties; and pressuring the government to plug loopholes in the Food Security Bill, such as increasing rations provided and providing incentives to farmers to increase their produce.