Draconian Laws and the Debate around them

The acts like POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act), AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act) and MCOCA (Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act) are considered unconstitutional and draconian which violate human rights.

AFSPA gives the armed forces wide powers to shoot, arrest and search, all in the name of “aiding civil power”. AFSPA violates Article 21 – Right to life. Under the Code, the armed forces have no grounds on which to justify their broad powers in the North East.
(Source: http://www.hrdc.net/sahrdc/resources/armed_forces.htm)

MCOCA is limited to Maharashtra. It came into force to effectively control the “organized” crimes as unlawful elements disseminating terrorism in the society can be checked and it will go a long way in minimizing the teeing of fear in the society. (Source: http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/document/actandordinances/maharashtra1999.htm)

The reasons why these laws are opposed are: First, the section that makes confessions of the accused before a police officer admissible as evidence in the court of law but not before police under IPC. The second is the harsh provision regarding bail. In the tightrope between security and justice, these laws allow the police or forces to become lazy. Instead of being patient and doing rigorous investigative work that will put away actual perpetrators, they just catch anybody they like. The State is not enjoined to be careful. The Police and Armed forces when operating under laws like TADA, POTA, MCOCA or AFSPA take action with the certainty that they are immune from the reach of the law, making them more casual, violent and atrocious. (The Indian State’s Killing Squads)
For example:
1. In the case of Indrajit Adua. (AFSPA)
2. Mahendra Jagadish Agarwal (Misuse of MCOCA)
3. Binayak Sen’s Arrest
4. Vaiko’s arrest under POTA
5. Manipur unrest.
6. Gang rape of 11 tribal women allegedly by special party police personnel.
7. The brutal rape, torture and murder of Thangjam Manorama of Manipur

Under these special acts, people are also denied equality before the law, apart from right to life.
Also, women have been victims of rape, molestation, torture by the CRPF jawans. In Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Kharkhand, West Bengal and other states the armed forces accused civilians as naxalites and carried on fake encounters.
Apart from the civilians, people who have opposed these laws include Binayak Sen, T.G. Vijay, A.Y.Babu, Lalit Mehta, Mahashweta Devi and Irom Sharmila (8 years in prison and force-fed through a tube). The only way out is to repeal the AFSPA, POTA and MCOCA in order to remove the Military, Police, BSF, CRPF and Home guards from playing a civil role in the region. Complete transparency should be established so that a public accountability is rendered possible. These laws have not only violated the basic human rights of the citizens but have failed to solve the problems of terrorism. Such laws increase the cycle of hatred and violence. Not only activists but state entities as well are concerned about human rights violation by the state. The only true way to fight terrorism must be to work closely with the community, rather than illegally detain people on the basis of their religion, status, or political affiliations.


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