UAPA should be scrapped as 97 percent accused are aquitted, says Prof. Haragopal

Calling UAPA ‘undemocratic’, the human rights activist says the State is leaning towards implementing more oppressive and repressive laws

Updated - January 28, 2024 11:42 pm IST

Published - January 28, 2024 09:38 pm IST - VIJAYAWADA

Noted human rights activist and retired Professor G. Haragopal speaking to The Hindu on Sunday.

Noted human rights activist and retired Professor G. Haragopal speaking to The Hindu on Sunday. | Photo Credit: G.N. Rao

“A person suffers in jail for three to four years and then gets acquitted after the prosecution fails to prove his guilt. This is happening in many cases now. About 97 percent of the arrests were made without any evidence, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA) cases,” said G. Haragopal, human rights activists and retired professor from the University of Hyderabad.

In the Bhima Koregaon case, many people were arrested and put behind bars without any evidence. In about 97 percent of the UAPA cases, the accused were acquitted. In many cases, the trial did not even begin until after several years of the arrest. Under UAPA, a person can be arrested without any evidence, which is against democracy, he said.

“This proves that 97 percent of those detained under it (UAPA) are innocent. Then what about the time spent by the accused in jails?” questioned Prof. Haragopal.

In the city to participate in the 29th Conference of Revolutionary Writers’ Association (Viplava Rachayitala Sangham), Prof. Haragopal said the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA), 1987 and Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2022 (POTA) should go.

Speaking to The Hindu on Sunday, Prof. Haragopal, who was also once booked under the UAPA, opined that the laws should be democratic and civilized, but not repressive. Earlier, the act of criticising governments used to be considered sedition. But now, merely commenting on the nation is being treated as sedition.

“The State is leaning towards implementing more oppressive and repressive laws, and there is no rule of law in place. The rising of the standards of law is not happening,” the human rights activist observed.

“We fought against the repeal of TADA and POTA, but UAPA is not like that. We are demanding the Telangana government not to invoke UAPA. There should be some Act to deal with crimes in society, but it should not be like UAPA,” Prof. Haragopal said.

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