NEW DELHI: Leaders from across the political spectrum called for the repeal of UAPA and said there was an urgent need for Opposition parties to unite to fight the ruling party in order to protect the country's constitutional values.
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor condemned the arrest of activist octogenarian Stan Swamy over alleged links with the Bhima Koregaon case. He was speaking at a virtual press conference arranged by human rights body People' Union of Civil Liberties on the arrests of activists, including Swamy, on Wednesday.
"The charges seem to me to be preposterous. I call upon the government to be fair and release Swamy," said Tharoor.
Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren said the BJP-led government at the Centre has attacked India's constitutional values.
Demanding the release of Swamy, Soren said the Opposition from across the political spectrum should unite at a time when the BJP has attacked the country's democratic values.
The Centre has weakened states led by Opposition governments, he said.
Jharkhand tribal activist Dayamani Barla said the government was favouring big corporations and grossly violating the rights of tribal communities.
MP Kanimozhi said activists were being implicated to silence voices of people who believed in secularism. "The political parties and people have to make a very important decision if they will be silent or put up a fight. If we let voices to be silenced, if silence is going to be our answer, there will not be any respect for the democratic fabric of the country," said Kanimozhi.
CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said the draconian law of UAPA continues to be misused.
"Swamy and octogenarian poet Varavara Rao continue to languish in jails amid the pandemic. Anyone who expresses dissent is anti-national for this government. What we are seeing is the undermining of the Constitution in every sphere," said Yechury, appealing to all political parties to come together.
Left leader D Raja said the ruling government was 'inhumane'.