In advertisements published in at least three local dailies in Kashmir on December 12, Jammu and Kashmir police warned social media users against cases falling under the Illegal Activities (Prevention) Act.
Carried on the front pages of newspapers, they warn social media users that “supporting and promoting terrorism is as bad as the actual act of terrorism”. The ads appeared a day before activists attacked a police vehicle in Srinagar, injuring 12 people and killing at least two policemen.
The Illegal Activities (Prevention) Act, commonly described as an anti-terrorism law, gives the Center the absolute power to deem an activity to be illegal through an official gazette. Under the law, investigative agencies can have 180 days to investigate a case, compared to 60 to 90 days under ordinary criminal law. This means that for certain offenses, the accused has the right to request deposit only after six months.
In the ad, police cited three examples of social media posts, which they said encouraged violence or acted as agents of terrorists or were threatening messages. The first example shows the screenshot of a message urging all village / mohalla / city committees to ensure that “not a single non-local lives in their area”. This is followed by the screenshot of a report of a Bihari vendor and Uttar Pradesh worker shot dead in Kashmir. “It is not normal to promote violence,” says the advertisement.
The second example appears to show a screenshot of WhatsApp messages where a person appears to be identifying someone in an image. “It is not normal to act as information agents of the handlers of terrorists in Pakistan and help them kill your neighbor and your colleagues,” writes the ad caption.
The third example shows a screenshot of a statement released by the United Front for the Liberation of Jammu and Kashmir, a militant group, about the murder of a policeman in Srinagar, warning other policemen they would suffer. similar violence if they did not quit their job. . A report on the murder of the policeman is also featured in the advertisement, with the caption âIt is not normal to publish or transmit threatening messagesâ.
India, in recent years, has seen an increase in the number of UAPA cases against government criticism. The law aims to fight terrorism, but it has been used against many other activities.
The latest to be booked under UAPA in Kashmir is human rights activist Khurram Parvez. He was arrested by the National Investigation Agency on November 23. He was charged with criminal conspiracy and war against the government.
Parvez is associated with the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, a union of nonprofit campaign and advocacy organizations in Srinagar.
In October, police in Jammu and Kashmir indicted students and staff at two UAPA medical schools for cheering Pakistan on for winning a cricket match against India.
The UAPA has also been used against activists and academics accused of instigating caste violence in a village near Pune in 2018. Thirteen of them remain in prison in Maharashtra.
What is UAPA
The law defines an illegal activity as any action taken by an individual or an association, “whether by committing an act or by words, spoken or written or by signs or by a visible representation or otherwise”, which denies, remits in question, disrupts or is intended to disrupt the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India, causes or is intended to cause disaffection against India and which seeks or supports any claim intended to bring about the cession or secession of part of the territory of India.
the Illegal Activities (Prevention) Act was first passed on December 30, 1967. The original law dealt with âillegalâ acts related to secession, anti-terrorism provisions were added in 2004.
Until July 2019, an officer of at least the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police or equivalent was competent to investigate offenses under the UAPA. However, after the death of Lok Sabha the draft law amending the draft law on illegal activities (prevention), 2019, empowered officers with the rank of inspector and above to do the same.