The Ur­ban Naxal ‘Threat’?

India Today - - UPFRONT -

Stu­dents, alumni, fac­ulty and staff from IIT Kan­pur are the lat­est to add their voices to the cho­rus of dis­ap­proval over the ar­rests and de­ten­tion of sev­eral ac­tivists and in­tel­lec­tu­als on Au­gust 28 as part of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into caste-based vi­o­lence in Bhima Kore­gaon back in Jan­uary. The let­ter de­scribed the ar­rest of Sudha Bharad­waj, an alumna of IIT Kan­pur, as a “trav­esty of jus­tice”. This round of ar­rests fol­lowed an­other in June, prob­ing the links between ac­tivists and cam­paign­ers and Maoists in the or­gan­i­sa­tion of a con­fer­ence that was al­legedly the cat­a­lyst for the Jan­uary ri­ots. On Septem­ber 1, the Pune po­lice sought more time to make their case, as the months-long pe­riod for which they can hold sus­pects with­out charge un­der the Un­law­ful Ac­tiv­i­ties Preven­tion Act, 1967, was com­ing to an end. The IIT Kan­pur group called the pro­vi­sions of the Act “un­duly harsh”. Can a jus­ti­fi­ca­tion be made in a democ­racy for hold­ing peo­ple, even in ju­di­cial cus­tody, for months with­out charge while the po­lice build a case? 10

Ac­tivists, lawyers, in­tel­lec­tu­als rounded up in two sep­a­rate, ap­par­ently con­nected raids. 5 on June 6 and an­other 5 on Au­gust 28. 17 peo­ple had their homes raided

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Days held with­out charge per­mit­ted un­der UAPA, 1967. Can be ex­tended up to 180 days. On Septem­ber 1, Pune po­lice asked for cus­tody to be ex­tended for 5 ac­tivists ar­rested in June

922

Cases reg­is­tered un­der UAPA in 2016, lat­est year for fig­ures, says Na­tional Crime Records Bureau. Most reg­is­tered in Ma­nipur (327), fol­lowed by As­sam (216) and Kash­mir (161)

1

Per­son died in the Bhima Kore­gaon ri­ots on Jan­uary 1, 2018. And 3 peo­ple were in­jured. At a Dalit protest about the vi­o­lence, two days later, 30 po­lice­men were in­jured, say media re­ports

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Age of Var­avara Rao, one of the ac­cused ar­rested in June. He is ap­par­ently im­pli­cated in a plot to pro­cure a Rs 8 crore ri­fle and 400,000 rounds of am­mu­ni­tion to as­sas­si­nate the PM

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Tri­als com­pleted of ac­cused un­der UAPA in 2016. 22 were ac­quit­ted, or 67%. In 2015, 85.5% of cases (65/76) ended in dis­charges or ac­quit­tals. 3,548 cases in 2016 still pend­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion

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Let­ters pro­vided to re­porters by the po­lice, out of “thou­sands”, as ev­i­dence of col­lu­sion between the ar­rested ac­tivists and Maoists. The Bom­bay High Court has al­ready crit­i­cised this tac­tic

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