NEW DELHI: A call for an organised protest against the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) across the country was given today at an event organised by rights body PUDR.
Speaking on the topic -- "Activism, State Repression and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA)" -- Supreme Court lawyer Gautam Bhatia described the Act as "extra-constitutional".
"The fight against UAPA cannot be fought in the court.
It needs to be challenged outside the court through people's movements," he said.
Gautam Navlakha of the People's Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) suggested a nationwide movement by like-minded organisations.
"A movement against UAPA is the need of the time. Efforts should also be made to seek the commitment of the political parties before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, so that it is repealed," he said.
A detailed account of the alleged "misuse" of the UAPA against Dailts, tribals and minorities was presented by civil rights activist and lawyer Sudha Bhardwaj.
"It is being used to curb the voices of protest and organised movements that seek to assert the rights of Dalits, tribals and minorities," she said.
Concern was also expressed over assaults on lawyers trying to help those facing charges under the UAPA in various states.