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

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Democracy and Anti-terrorism Laws

Experience of UAPA, 1967 in Punjab

The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 provides complete impunity to the law-enforcing agencies to conduct their activities in an unlawful manner. The judiciary has also become an accomplice. The presence of this act in Indian law statute books will always assure law-enforcing agencies that they are above the law.

This article is based on interviews conducted by the author during February 2014–May 2014, and on the study of legal and other documents related to these cases.

This is a story of abduction, arrest, torture and acquittal of three prominent leaders of mass organisations in Punjab. They were arrested by the Punjab police under various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA) within a span of seven months (November 2009May 2010). They were accused of being dreaded Maoists. According to the first information report (FIR) number 94, dated 18 November 2009, Surjit Singh Phul, state president of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Krantikari) (BKU [Krantikari]), was arrested on 18 November 2009 from inside the premises of a lower court at village Phool in Bathinda district on the information received through an informer, that he

has deep relations with CPI (Maoist) and is actively participating and supporting its armed struggle in Punjab and other states ... He is instigating the youth to join the CPI (Maoist) ... He has arranged meetings in Punjab of the leaders of CPI (Maoists) ... This organisation is actively working in anti-government activities by way of armed struggle. It is working to topple the government by unconstitutional means ... These crimes of his, amount to under sections 10/13 of UAPA. After receiving ... information, an ASI (assistant sub-inspector) along with other policemen went to search for him. When they reached bus stop at Phool, a person bearing turban and holding black bag was coming ... He was caught with the help of fellow policemen. On inquiry, he identified himself as Surjit Singh.

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