ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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How 'Unlawful' I Was!

An Experiential Lesson on the UAPA

Despite the claim that the Act came into force to prevent unlawful activities that challenge sovereignty and integrity of the country, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act is mostly used to incarcerate people with different and alternative viewpoints on state and society. Here is a first person account that raises questions on who the real perpetrators of the unlawful behaviour are, in the context of multiple acts of unlawfulness in the process of illegal detention, legal implication in different cases, charge framing, trial and even judicial procedure.

It sounds silly to ask, “Whose activities attract the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA)?”, since the name of the Act is self-explanatory. But, as a person charged under the Act, my own experience is something different and has quite often compelled me to wonder, “After all, who should be arrested under this Act?” Let me explain.

Hailing from Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh (AP), I am a women’s rights activist and have spent over 20 years fighting not only for the implementation of existing laws, but also for formulation of gender-sensitive and egalitarian laws towards a socialist transformation of society, which I believe can be brought about by a political transformation of society. I stayed briefly in Patna (Bihar) during 2009, and I was “picked up” from Patna on 11 October 2009.

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