Thursday, May 13, 2010

In India, sympathy could be a thought-crime

Legendary writer Mahasweta Devi has challenged Union home minister P Chidambaram to arrest her and put her in jail for 10 years, in response to the Centre’s newfound enthusiasm for using the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, to arrest Maoist ‘sympathisers’. One must sympathise with the home minister for being humiliated by a gutsy 84-year-old woman.

Yet sympathy is a thought-crime thanks to the UAPA, which says: ‘Any person who commits the offence of supporting a terrorist organisation with inter alia intention to further the activities of such terrorist organisations would be liable to be punished with imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or with fine or with both.’

The key point seems to be ‘intention to further the activities’ of the Maoists. So the question that must be asked is, has anyone furthered the activities of the Maoist more than the state with its exploitative economic policies and its counter-insurgency tactics? What is more useful to the Maoists, a writ petition filed by activists for the Adivasis, or a security apparatus that terrorises the population on mere suspicion and suppresses dissent and civil society?

Full report here New Indian Express

No comments:

Post a Comment