UAPA, NSA, and Sedition The definitions of these three laws are different, the makers of all three are different but the work of all three is almost the same. Today I will tell you in detail about how these three laws are used by the government to curb democracy. Let’s start with the newest and most dangerous supernatural power, which is also in the mind of many people. Yes, I am talking about ‘UAPA’ or the ‘Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. This law was made in 1967 and its purpose was to maintain the integrity of the country. There have been continuous amendments to it, which changed the law with time.
The UAPA, sedition, and NSA laws have been constantly used to criminalize dissent.
In July 2019, an amendment was made in this, which gave the government the power that it can declare any person a terrorist without any trial. Anyone can be declared a terrorist by imposing UAPA on him. Even the prisoner on whom this charge has been imposed does not himself know what his crime is and is simply put in jail.
UAPA was completely changed by the government in 2019, after which the government imposed UAPA on activists one after the other and put them in jail, for example, Varavara Rao, Sharjeel Imam, and Anand Teltumbde. The government leaves no stone unturned as to how old those that the UAPA has been imposed on are, they just put them in jail under this act.
But it is worth noting that our government does not impose UAPA on those who are terrorists. For example, take Devinder Singh, leave UAPA, that dangerous terrorist got bail later. The problem is not that this law is being used, the problem is that this law is being used against people who criticize the government, those who come from a particular party, or who come from a particular community.
Let us tell you that one-third of such UAPA cases end in acquittal or discharge. Most Accused’s charges are dropped and they are released. Actually, the job of this act is not to prove a point and charge, but to teach a lesson.
Now let’s talk about the second law, whose name is the “National Security Act” (NSA), which is also called ‘Rasuka’.
This law gives the power to the government to detain any person the government feels is a threat to the nation. Both the Central and State Governments can use this law. The foundation of this law was laid 200 years ago in 1818. After that, different names have been given to this law. Then the country became independent and the name kept changing but this law went on.
Sometimes this law came back and it continued for years. But in 1980, Indira Gandhi, who was the then Prime Minister, gave a new name to this law and gave many powers to the law. This law changed completely and it was named ‘NSA’ and since then it has been going on like this.
NSA often comes in the news, now even if it is because of the wrong reasons, we give you an example of this, during the CAA-NRC Protest, Dr. Kafeel Khan gave a speech in Aligarh Muslim University and after that, the Uttar Pradesh government imposed NSA on him and put them in jail for about 9 months. The Allahabad High Court had to reprimand the UP Police and said that NSA is wrongly imposed on him and removed it immediately. Despite that, no apology was made. Bhim Army Chief Chandrashekhar Azad has been in jail for more than 130 days under this law.
The biggest critique of the NSA is that NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau) which collects the data of crime committed in the country does not have any data around the NSA. There is no inclusion in how many people went in and came out. But in Uttar Pradesh we have NSA data, more than half the NSA cases filed in UP are related to cow smuggling.
Now we tell you about the last and third charge which is the Indian Penal Court (IPC),124 “Sedition”.
This law was made by the British in 1870. In the year 1898, under the Macaulay Penal Code, treason meant, “any person who expresses dissatisfaction against the government.” If you speak out against the elected government in the country, or write about it, or even point it out, then you will be declared a traitor.
Sedition was added to the Indian Penal Code in 1870 to break the backbone of the ‘Wahabi movement’, to eliminate the Wahhabi movement from the root after this act became immortal forever. You will be surprised to know that the United Kingdom that established law in Colonial Law has abolished it in its own country but it continues in India.
The sedition law is a colonial-era remnant that was used by the INC and later the BJP to shut down critical voices.
Even during the Indian independence movement, this law was used to suppress the voice of leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Many activists, authors, creative professionals, and whoever was against the government also had to face this law after independence.
And in the last few years, people like Arundhati Roy and Asim Trivedi have also been charged with these charges. During the CAA/NRC Protest in UP alone, sedition was imposed on many. Sedition charges have been imposed on more than 10,000 farmers in Jharkhand in the last two years. These were poor people who were fighting for the rights of their land and were raising their voices against the fake development project happening there.
Sedition law came into the limelight during the JNU Students’ Protest in 2016. Now, I would like to share some data with you; Between 2016 and 2018 sedition was imposed on 332 people, out of them only 7 were found guilty.
In the year 2019, Congress promised that if they come to power, they will end sedition. Now let me tell you that between 2004 and 2014 when their government was in power, this law was used a lot. In 2012-13, in Tamil Nadu, 23,000 people were taken into custody out of which 9,000 people were charged with sedition.
In my opinion, these three laws are necessary to curb terrorist activities that threaten the integrity of the country but we all know that these three laws are being used more on activists and those critical of the government.