PUCL Bulletin, Feb., 2001

Targeting people's organisation in the name of Naxalism

On 27th November 2000, the Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly without any significant debate and discussion passed the "M. P. Special Areas Security Bill 2000".

It is now awaiting the President's assent. This went largely unnoticed by the public. It was
publicised as a law to curb illegal activities of certain people's organisations and naxalites.

The main features of the Bill are:

1.Any organisation or group of the people can be banned if their activities are declared
illegal.
2.Organisations and groups ranging from an informal group of people to trade unions
can be banned. Organisations need not be registered to come under the purview of
this proposed law.

3.The lists of activities defined as illegal are very general, for example, activities that
disturb the law and order or peace or have the tendency to create obstacles in the
maintenance of public order, etc.

4.The government is not bound to divulge the reasons for the ban.

5.It does not give any opportunity to the organisations/groups to represent their case
before the declaration of ban.

6.This law when enacted would not only be applicable to the members of the
organisations/groups who are banned but also to persons who support such
organisations/groups in any form.

7.Members of banned organisations and their supporters are liable to imprisonment
for a term up to 3 years and fine.

8.There is a provision for forfeiture all the movable and immovable properties and
assets of the banned organisations/groups.

9.Unlimited powers have been granted to the District Collectors and the
Superintendents of the Police.

10.An appeal against the ban must be filed within the fifteen days of the declaration of
ban to the Advisory Board.

11.Besides the above appeal no suits, petitions, revisions or injunctions are allowed in
any court against any order of the Government under this Bill. A person can go to the
High Court and Supreme Court under Articles 226 and 32 (respectively) of the
Constitution.

This law when enacted would have wide reaching powers and is intended to suppress all kind of peoples' resistance and movements in M. P. This is clear from the object and reasons for the Bill which states that danger from illegal activities of some peoples' (janta) and naxalite organisation necessitates this. But it would be used against those who are working to protect the basic human rights of common people.

Out of the six activities that have been defined as ill- legal activities only one can be said to relate to naxalite activities. That is using violent and terrorist means to create fear in the minds of the public or using arms and explosives. The other activities that are defined as illegal are very general and unclear and can be used against any peoples' organisation, such as disturbing the public order; disturbing the peace; hindering or obstructing the working of the rule of law, it's institutions and functionaries or has a tendency to do so., etc. These are not extremist acts and any organisation trying to highlight peoples' problems using non-violent or democratic means would fall under the purview of this proposed law.

Such repressive laws are going to be enacted in all the states very soon in the wake of globalisation, liberalisation and privatisation. Andhra Pradesh already has such a law in existence. The objects and reasons for the Bill state that AP has also prohibited the illegal activities of peoples and naxalite organisation in its efforts to curb naxalites.

For the people's organisations, groups, trades unions, people's fronts in M. P. and other states, this proposed Act is a warning. This is time to wake up and be ready! All of us must come together to fight against such anti-people Bill!

On behalf of Madhya Pradesh Jana Sangathan:

Kisan Adivasi Sangathan, Hoshangabad Shramik Adivasi Sangathan, Betul Narmada Bachao Andolan, Bedwani Ekta Parishad, Bhopal Khedyut Mazdoor Chetna Sangathan, Jhabua Adivasi Mukti Sangathana, Bedwani Bargi Bandh Visthapit Avam Prabhavit Sangh, Jabalpur Bhopal Gas Pidit Mahila Udyog Sangathan, Bhopal Yogesh Deewan, Hoshangabad

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