Guilt By Association: UAPA Cases from Madhya Pradesh
New Delhi: Even if grudgingly, there is an admission now in the mainstream discourse that people may be framed and implicated in false terror cases, often only on grounds of their religious affiliation. Investigations into Malegaon and Mecca Masjid blasts are two prominent examples of this prejudice. However, across the country, scores of ‘terror’ cases have resulted in the incarceration of hundreds of men, mostly on the basis of alleged ‘seized literature’ and nothing else.
Madhya Pradesh is one such story, which has passed unnoticed, undocumented. This report documents the large number of cases registered under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) across the state, and brings out the patterns of framing, planting of material, and even more tragically, rampant judicial abdication in the face of flimsy evidence and obvious procedural violations. But this becomes all the more striking when one notes that the state of Madhya Pradesh has not witnessed a single terror incident during the years when these cases were filed.
The report illustrates why the short cut methods of special or fast track courts, currently under discussion even in the Home Ministry, will not help as the malaise is deeper and more fundamental. The existence of laws like UAPA, which render entire communities perpetually suspect, make malicious and biased investigation that much easier. JTSA hopes that this document will strengthen the demand for the repeal of a law, which is no less unjust than the earlier POTA and TADA.