Friday, July 2, 2010

ULPA against Political Struggle: Kerala Government’s new weapon for repression.

janakeeya manushyavakasa prasthanam

ULPA against Political Struggle:

Kerala Government’s new weapon for repression.

‘Porattam’ State President Advocate P.J. Manuel, ‘Viplava Stree vadi Prasthanam’ Convenor V.C. Jenny and 8 other political activists belonging to Porattam are in jail for the last one month. They were arrested on 23.5.2010 after their symbolic seizure of ‘Reliance Retails Pvt. Ltd.’ functioning in Central Warehousing Corporation Godown in Kuriachira, Trissur. What prompted Porattam in conducting the Symbolic Seizure was the government policy of leasing out public Godowns to monopolies like Reliance which inevitably leads to the price hike of necessaries.

Police arrested them and a criminal case was registered against them under Sections 143, 147, 148, 452, 427, 506(ii) r/w 149 I.P.C. Section 3(1) of Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act 1984 (P.D.P.P.) and under Sections 10 and 13 of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act 1967 (ULPA).

Because of the incorporation of Section 10 and 13 of ULPA courts denied bail to the ‘Porattam’ activists. The Unlawful Activities Prevention Act 1967 is one of the notorious enactment, used by the Central Government as well as by various State Governments to crush the people’s movements and detain activists all over India. World famous human rights activist Dr. Binayak Sen was booked under this Act and he had to remain in Jail for 2 years. In Kerala Peoples March Editor P.Govindankutty was booked under this Act . After the 26/11 Mumbai incident Central Government amended this Act and incorporated relevant provisions of POTA.

Section 10 of ULPA provides for penalty for being a member of an unlawful association. To attract this section the association in which the accused is member must be declared as an unlawful association. The procedure for declaring an association as unlawful is stated in Section 3 of ULPA. ‘Porattam’ is not declared as an unlawful association according to the law so far.

Section 13 provides punishment for unlawful activity. ‘What is an unlawful activity’ is defined in Section 2(o) of ULPA. According to Section 2(o) an activity to become unlawful it must be intended to cause Cession and Secession, or it must challenge the territorial integrity and sovereignty of India or it must cause disaffection towards India. According to the state the allegation against the Porattam activists is that they attacked Reliance godown and broken computer, telephone Cabin glasses, etc. Even if the police version is admitted no offence under Section 13 will lie against the Porattam activists as there struggle is against government policy causing price hike.

A symbolic strike against the Reliance disturbed the so-called Left Government led by CPI(M) very much. Due to the anxiety to book Porattam activists under the ULPA and put them behind the bars, the state even ignored relevant provisions of the Act itself.

This may be the 1st time in our state that ULPA is used against a political struggle. This is a clear violation of human rights and abuse ofState power. It is a well calculated move from the state to shut up the dissenting voices. This new era of ‘Terrorism’ has given the state the advantage of putting the dissenting, criticizing voices under the constant suspicion. We are hearing the ministers making irresponsible statements that terrorists are behind the people’s struggle emerging in Kerala nowadays. Booking Porattam activists under ULPA points towards a dangerous future in which all the tongues speaking for the people will be cut down and the dissenting voices will be repressed.

We appeal to the progressive organizations and human rights groups to raise voice against this injustice !!!

Following is the comment of famous criminal Lawyer K.S.Madhusoodanan on this matter.

Naked Human Rights Violation

Adv. K.S.Madhusoodanan

The crime registered against Adv.P.J.Manual and 9 others alleging offence under s.3(1) of Prevention of Damage to the Public Property Act (PDPP) and section 10 and 13 of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (ULPA) are atrocious and naked violation of all human rights. As a matter of fact they were arrested while holding procession against rocketing price hike arise out of destroying the public distribution system.

The core question is how Relience Retails limited running at the Central WareHousing Corporation Godown, Kuriachira can be treated as public property under the P.D.P.P Act and an unlawful activity under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act?

S.3 of PDPP Act will attract only the property alleged to be destroyed is owned or in possession of either the central government or the state government

To come under s.10 of the ULPA , the assailants should be members of unlawful association . Porattam is not an unlawful association.

To come within the purview of s.13 of ULPA one should commit unlawful activity defined in s.2 (o) thereof , which deals eulogize secession or cession , disturb the sovereignty and integrity of India etc. Commiting mischief at reliance retail shop within no way characterised as distrubtion of sovereignty and integrity of India as reliance cannot equated as India.

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