PUCL Bulletin, August 2002

PUCL seminar on terrorism, human rights & POTA at Barauni, Begusarai
-- By Neeraj Kumar

It was really a great experience to witness hundreds of villagers to be present in a small village like Barauni in Bihar to listen to the leaders of the human rights movement of Bihar and that also on much controversial anti-terrorist law like POTA, a topic considered to be of lesser interest for any lay person. Hundreds of local people, cutting across party lines, assembled in Barauni Middle School Ground, braving the scorching April sun, to participate in the Begusarai district PUCL unit sponsored seminar.

Speaking on this occasion, PUCL national vice president, Dr Prabhakar Sinha, said that the PUCL stands against terrorism but it also simultaneously does not support any draconian law like POTA, which he called patently anti-human rights.

He said that during last 50 years the people of the country have experienced that such draconian laws have never succeeded in containing the menace for which such laws were enacted, be it MISA, DIR, TADA, or whatever. But in all the cases one factor was common that all such laws were used to curb the political opponents and to suppress the voice of dissent and even sanity.
Activist journalist and Vice President of the then Bihar-Jharkhand unit of the PUCL, Arun Kumar in his speech on the occasion alleged that POTA has been enacted by the NDA government at the behest of superpower America. He said that even in the past large number of people were arrested under such a draconian act, TADA, and a majority of arrests under this act were in Gujarat. But significantly the government could not prove charges against the arrested persons in the court of law. However, thousands of families were ruined as their bread earners were jailed for months and years under TADA.

Social activist, Suresh Bhatt, in his speech on the occasion expressed his thanks to the people present there who were gathered to discuss POTA facing scorching sun which according to him showed the higher level of awareness of the people of Begusarai district of Bihar, especially the people of the Barauni locality. He said that it shows that no fascist trend could grow in this country as even the village people are ready to fight such trends out. He called it a healthy sign for the survival of democracy in India.

Advocate, Basant Choudhary in his speech said that no such law could prevent growing unrest in the society as root of such unrest in the society lies in the socio-economic policies of the country.

He said these are not just the "law and order problems" as the authorities perceive it.

PUCL state unit president, R C L Das in his speech said that such draconian laws demand constant vigil from the society and also continuous protest.
PUCL national council member and Begusarai district unit president, Ramashray Prasad Singh presided over the seminar. District unit general secretary, Rammurthy Prasad Singh, former District & Sessions Judge (Retd), Dwarika Prasad Singh, and CPI leader, Prof. Madneshwar Nath Dutt were prominent among those who spoke on the occasion. PUCL state council member, Ramnaresh Sharma advocate conducted the seminar. Advocate, Ramesh Prasad Singh proposed vote of thanks

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