Parties protest against BJP-led govt. at Centre

UAPA Bill is worse than Rowlatt Act under British rule, says MMK leader

Published - August 26, 2019 01:01 am IST - CHENNAI

The Tamil Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam and the Manithaneya Makkal Katchi on Sunday jointly organised a protest in Chennai against the BJP-led Central government for revoking the special status accorded to Jammu and Kashmir, bringing in legislation criminalising triple talaq and for the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill.

MMK president M.H. Jawahirullah compared the UAPA Amendment Bill to the Rowlatt Act implemented by the British. “The Indian Constitution was created by people with great integrity. But the BJP is trying to completely dilute the Constitution. People opposed the Rowlatt Act, which resulted in the killing of protesters by General Dyer. This Bill is worse than the Rowlatt Act in democratic India. Did those people die for the Indian government to bring in the UAPA Bill?” he asked.

Mr. Jawahirullah said that National Investigation Agency had arrested 14 people in Tamil Nadu. “I read through the FIR. It said they were sent out of Dubai and were planning to carry out terror activities, sitting in New Delhi. The cases filed by the NIA across the country have not proven the claims. We have strength and moral will to face cases filed by the NIA and [oppose] the UAPA Bill,” he said.

Representatives of the DMK, the VCK, the Congress and the CPI(M) participated in the protest.

“The BJP, aided by a strong majority in Parliament, has begun implementing the policies we feared it would,” said Villupuram MP and VCK general secretary D. Ravikumar.

“During 2014-2019, the BJP showed that it is possible to run a majoritarian government without making any changes to the Constitution. We had said that a BJP government at the Centre in 2019 will pose a challenge to Parliamentary democracy. In the first session itself, they have passed 31 laws. In the Budget session, this is the first time so many laws have been passed in India’s history,” Mr. Ravikumar said.

‘Democracy in danger’

Contending that democracy was in danger like never before in independent India’s history, DMK organising secretary and Rajya Sabha member R.S. Bharathi said, “The people who can take a balanced view must think about whether these three laws are necessary. The UAPA Bill will lead to the arrest of any person with a beard and a Muslim name.” “A conscientious Supreme Court will not allow Article 370 to be abrogated. Even a corporation council meeting will need 72 hours to present an agenda and an urgent meeting will need 24 hours’ notice. In this case, the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill was introduced at 10 a.m. and passed at 11 a.m,” he added.

CPI(M) leader G. Ramakrishnan criticised the Centre for dividing Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories without the consent of the people. “It will not stand in court. The CPI(M) doesn’t view this as a problem of the Muslim community. Won’t they do the same thing to Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu? This is against federalism. We have to defeat it,” he said.

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