A lookback at arrests made under the UAPA

As the year ends, we look back at some of the arrests that have been made under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

A lookback at arrests made under the UAPA

As 2020 nears towards the end, we look back at the anti-terror law by the name Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

This bill was introduced by Home Minister Amit Shah and was passed by the Lok Sabha in 287-8 votes and the Rajya Sabha by 147-42 votes on August 2, 2019, after a heated debate on the floor of the parliamentary house. This bill happens to be an extension of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. The amendment provides special powers to counter terrorist activities, giving the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in particular additional powers while dealing with cases of terrorism. Furthermore, it allows the government to designate an individual as 'terrorist', permitting the NIA to conduct investigations, seizing private property.

Down below are some of the activists that have been arrested under the UAPA:

  • Varavara Rao – The 82-year-old, who was arrested in 2018 under the Unlawful Activity (Prevention) Act or UAPA in connection with the Elgar Parishad case was earlier diagnosed with delirium - an acute neuropsychiatric syndrome and was reportedly COVID-19 positive. With regards to the arrest, the Police had alleged that in the event Elgaar Parishad, leftist groups and Naxalites had participated where speeches had been made including those by Rao and others which were responsible for inciting violence that occurred the next day.
  • Sudha Bharadwaj - Bharadwaj was arrested in the infamous Bhima Koregaon case. A Professor of Law at the National Law University, she was arrested under a state-sponsored a narrative which titled her as a “Maoist”. Nine months after her arrest, Bharadwaj was among the 21 women honoured by the Harvard Law School in 2019 on the occasion of International Women’s Day. The Maharashtra government under Uddhav Thackeray at that time tried to withdraw the charges, however, the Central Government intervened and handed the investigation to NIA. Presently, she remains incarcerated without a trial.
  • Umar Khalid - Former student of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Umar Khalid was booked under UAPA in 2020 by Delhi Police for his alleged "provocative speeches" during the visit of American President Donald Trump to India.
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