CPM manifesto vows to repeal UAPA, but activists question party’s stand

C P Rasheed, state committee member of the Janakeeya Manushyavakasa Prasthanam said Luckman Pallikkandi was arrested when he was pasting posters condemning the killing of C P Jaleel in a police encounter in Wayanad
CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury with Polit Bureau members Prakash Karat, Brinda Karat and others releases the partys manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections, in New Delhi, Thursday, April 4, 2024.
CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury with Polit Bureau members Prakash Karat, Brinda Karat and others releases the partys manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections, in New Delhi, Thursday, April 4, 2024.(Photo | Parveen Negi, EPS)

KOZHIKODE : Human rights activists and victims of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) have questioned the CPM’s sincerity in declaring in its manifesto that the Act will be repealed if the party comes to power. The manifesto was released by CPM leaders, including Sitaram Yechury and Prakash Karat, at a function in New Delhi on Thursday.

“The CPI(M) stands for the scrapping of all draconian laws like UAPA and PMLA,” the manifesto said.

Alan Shuhaib, who was arrested under UAPA for alleged links with Maoists, sees the CPM promise as only a joke. “The party should set the example where it is in power. There have been 145 UAPA cases in Kerala between 2016 and 2021. So, how can one believe that CPM is against the UAPA,” he asked.

Most of the UAPA cases in Kerala have nothing to do with any disruptive activities. “The Act was invoked for shouting slogans or pasting posters. The government says that unlike other states, there is a judicial body that examines the merit of every UAPA case. But that provision is there in the Act itself and is not a concession of the CPM government” he said.

P A Shyna, wife of Maoist leader Roopesh, said the government had moved the Supreme Court against the

High Court’s decision to strike down UAPA on technical grounds. “The government went to the Supreme Court to get the UAPA reinstated,” Shyna said.

CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury with Polit Bureau members Prakash Karat and Brinda Karat addresses a press conference organised to announce the partys manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections, in New Delhi.
CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury with Polit Bureau members Prakash Karat and Brinda Karat addresses a press conference organised to announce the partys manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections, in New Delhi.(Photo | Parveen Negi, EPS)

‘Difficult to get actual number of UAPA cases’

“Though the government withdrew from the move after public protests, it approached the High Court in two other cases against Roopesh to get UAPA imposed,” Shyna said.

C P Rasheed, state committee member of the Janakeeya Manushyavakasa Prasthanam, said many persons are waiting for bail after being arrested under the UAPA.

“The government should not oppose the bail for those arrested for alleged Maoist connections,” he said.

Rasheed said Luckman Pallikkandi was arrested when he was pasting posters condemning the killing of C P Jaleel in a police encounter in Wayanad under the banner of Purogamana Yuvajana Prasthanam.

“He was released only after 40 days. Two other youths, Sreekanth and Nahas, were summoned for questioning in the same case recently,” he said.

Advocate Thushar Nirmal Sarathi, who is handling many UAPA cases, said it is difficult to get the actual number of UAPA cases in Kerala.

“Police slap UAPA in every case related to Maoist sightings in tribal colonies,” he said.

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