A dangerous phase, worse than Emergency, has begun in India: MSD writes to President of India

The Movement for Secular Democracy (MSD), a prominent civil rights network of Gujarat, condemning the arrest of various civil rights activists from across the country, have said, they were sought to be implicated under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) under the pretext of being a part of ‘conspiracy to kill the Prime Minister’. Demanding their release, it has demanded dropping of all charges against them.
“The arrested and alleged activists have no criminal background or no such record of actions which complement these charges. Even the said letter of threat over the computer is yet to be proved authentic by the administration. The only common thread among them is that they raise voice of dissent against anti people policies of the governments or do open criticism”, a letter by MSD to the President of India says.
It adds, “Already, countrywide, the attempts of the state administration to curb democratic protests under various pretexts have become very common. The rampant misuse of UAPA by labeling the voice of protest as ‘anti-national’ has become a trend. The permissions for staging protest are denied, delayed or imposed so many conditions in the name of law and order, traffic, maintenance of peace, etc. The temporary imposition of Article 144 of IPC has become virtually ‘Permanent’. This is worse than the state of ‘Emergency’.”
Calling the latest round of arrests “monumental, representing “a new and extremely dangerous phase in the steady erosion of civil liberties and fundamental rights in our country”, MSD says, not only the houses of activists were searched without prior notices, their telephone and electricity lines were cut before entering the houses for search as if they were in search of a terrorists.”
Signatories include Prakash N Shah, Indukumar Jani, Gautam Thaker, Dwarikanath Rath, Father Francis Parmar, Prof Ghanshyam Shah, Prof Svati Joshi, Dr Neha Shah, Meenakshi Joshi, Hemantkumar Shah, Mukund Pandya, Mahesh Pandya, Sheba George, Nita Mahadev, Dr Jharna Pathak, Smita Pandya, Nirjhari Sinha, Persis Ginwala, Manishi Jani, Prof Sanjay Bhave, Jagdish Patel and others.

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