In the first year of the Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh, 382 persons were arrested under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), highest among all states across the country.
According to the data provided by the government on the third day of Parliament's winter session on November 20, 3,681 persons were arrested under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in the country in three years till 2017.
In a written reply to a question (unstarred question no. 353) in the Rajya Sabha on how many persons were arrested so far under UAPA during last three years (2016-19), Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kishan Reddy said on November 20, "As per information received from NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau), a total of 11,28,999 and 1,554 persons were arrested under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA) in the country during the year 2015, 2016 and 2017, respectively."
According to the government data, in three years, the highest numbers of arrests were reported from Manipur where 1,440 persons were arrested, followed by another north-eastern state, Assam which had 721. Third, on the list is Bihar with 473 and then came Uttar Pradesh with 420 arrests. Jharkhand carried out 217 arrests, while there 101 arrests in Jammu and Kashmir during this period.
Also read: ‘Unlawful’ Amendment to UAPA 2019: A Brief Analysis
It should be noted that in Uttar Pradesh, while 23 people were arrested under this act in 2015, the figure came down to 15 in 2016 but as Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) formed the government in March 2017, the number of arrests surged to 382 that year. In all the five states where maximum arrests were carried out in three years (2015-2017), BJP or BJP-led governments were in power.
In response to the question posed by Communist Party of India (Marxist) MP Elamaram Kareem on whether the majority of those jailed under UAPA are from a specific community or religion, the Ministry of Home Affairs informed the Rajya Sabha that it does not analyse data of terrorism-related cases based on religion. "The government has a zero-tolerance policy towards terrorism and it does not analyse data of terrorism-related cases registered or persons arrested based on the religion."
Commenting over the arrests under UAPA, the former Director General of Police (DGP) of UP, Vikram Singh told NewsClick, "UAPA is a very sensitive law and it has to be applied with extreme care and caution. It is mandated by the act itself that it is not below the level of a gazetted officer. That is the minimum starting point by whom this law can be invoked and any misuse of the law will have very serious consequences."
Singh further added, "It has to be made sure that not a single one of these cases present any instance of misuse of law. It is a preventive detention act and it has to be exercised with due care and caution. Misusing the law is equivalent to diluting the sanctity of the law. There has to be a compelling reason to arrest hundreds of people under this law. Another thing that needs to be scrutinised is what are the instances used to invoke this law.”
Retired IPS officer Vibhuti Narain Rai told NewsClick, "If such a draconian law is used on a routine basis then it will of course present misuse by the authority. This law should be used in very rare cases. Despite the use of this law frequently, there is no improvement in the law and order in the state."
UP 2nd in Fake Encounter Cases
Not only UAPA, Uttar Pradesh has also been in the headline for carrying out maximum fake encounters. Since the Yogi Adtiyanath-led BJP government came to power in the state, encounters and corrupt investigations have become the rule of law. The BJP-ruled state stands second across the country in the number of people killed in alleged fake encounters carried out by the police. As reported by NewsClick earlier, of the total 211 complaints of fake encounters across India filed with the National Commission for Human Rights (NHRC) between January 1, 2015, and March 20, 2019, as many as 39 complaints were lodged in Uttar Pradesh.
Also read: ‘Encounter Politics’ Heats up in UP as Another Man is Killed in Azamgarh
The most number of complaints of alleged fake encounters were lodged in Western Uttar Pradesh. Ghaziabad, Hapur, Bulandshahr, Gautam Budh Nagar, Bagpat, Muzaffarnagar, Mathura, Kasganj, Lucknow, Pilibhit, Gorakhpur, Amroha, Meerut, Aligarh, Moradabad, Saharanpur, Badaun and Farrukhabad.