New Delhi: Several like-minded organizations are backing the scope of the “People’s Movement Against UAPA” and is being widened. Recently the Peoples Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) organized a conference in Indian Social Institute, New Delhi holding discussion to extend the Movement by inviting other organizations that when ideologies contrary to or critical of those espoused by the State thrive on the basis of mass support, the State attempts to scuttle all voices in support of these ideologies.

In such a situation, all people associated with or deemed to be associated with struggles are declared ‘anti-nationals’ or ‘insurgents’. Fundamental freedoms and democratic rights such as speaking, writing, thinking, and reading, participating or organizing in favor of the struggles are also targeted. People are put behind bars. In this context, draconian and biased laws like the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 are put to use by the State. The UAPA is one of those black laws of the country which is in blatant disregard of the Constitutional rights and makes the struggle for enforcing Democratic Rights one step difficult. Under this law, basic norms of the Criminal Justice System meant for safeguarding rights of the Accused are also kept at abeyance.

Thousands of Adivasis, Kashmiris, North-Eastern people in the Armed Conflict Areas and Muslims who have been declared terrorists even before completion of trials have become routine sufferers of this draconian law today. The judgment delivered by the Gadchiroli Sessions Court on 7th March 2017 wherein 6 persons were convicted for life under provisions of UAPA is a stark example of the above said so civil society is under duty to watchful and alert to protect the civil liberties.

The dignitaries who addressed the event were Arun Ferreira (Committee for the Protection of Democratic Rights), Sharfuddin Ahmed (People’s Movement Against UAPA), Gautam Navlakha (People’s Union for Democratic Rights)