A Case for State repression on Civil societies

Synopsis: Telangana government’s decision to ban 16 civil organisations is an act of state repression on citizens demanding state accountability.

  • Recently, The Government of Telangana banned 16 organisations under the Telangana Public Security Act, 1992 (TPSA).
  • These 16 organizations include workers’ organisation, women’s groups, students’ groups, Adivasi association groups, and civil liberties groups.
  • They were declared as ‘unlawful associations’ and ‘new front organisations linked to Communist Party of India (Maoist) and urban guerillas.
  • The timing of this notification indicates that the government wants to scare people demanding governmental accountability.
What led to the ban on these organisations?
  1. The activists were involved in highlighting various issues against the State and Central Governments through meetings and rallies.
  2. Besides, they were also demanding the release of leaders who were arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case, and ‘repealing of UAPA Act, Farm Laws, CAA/NRC’.
  3. However, the state labeled the following charges against the activists to invoke a ban on these organizations, under Telangana Public Security Act, 1992.
    1. One, activists are invading urban areas by adopting various guerilla tactics to wage war against the state.
    2. Two, they were interfering with the public administration. Or the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the life of the community. It amounts to a  danger to public peace.

Why the ban on these organisations is viewed as a misuse of the Telangana Public Security Act, 1992?

  • First, protesting against the UAPA or seeking its repeal cannot in itself be interpreted as an unlawful activity. The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, or UAPA, is widely challenged in many courts due to its infringement on the fundamental rights of the citizens.
  • Second, Since the investigations are ongoing, supporting the release of Bhima Koregaon accused cannot be framed as a crime under the TPSA.
  • Third, protesting against CAA and farm laws also cannot be dubbed as an unlawful activity.
      • Because the state government itself has not taken a definite stand on the issue of Farm laws.
      • More interestingly, the State Legislature had itself passed a resolution against the CAA, the National Register of Citizens (NRC), and the National Population Register.
      • The resolution stated that the CAA violated the constitutional guarantees of equality, non-discrimination, and secularism. Further, it will endanger the lives of vulnerable groups who do not possess adequate documentary proof of citizenship.
Way forward
  • Telangana state performance to control the Pandemic has been so far very poor. Even the Telangana high court has criticised the state’s response to control the Pandemic as disappointing and failure in governance.
  • Hence, the government should strive towards fulfilling its constitutional obligations under Part IV of the Constitution by effectively managing the public health crisis.

Source: The Hindu

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