Understanding UAPA, the Controversial Law Used to Arrest Activists for “Maoist Links”

Politics

Understanding UAPA, the Controversial Law Used to Arrest Activists for “Maoist Links”

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

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ack in 2007, when the Congress-led government was in power, Mumbai-based lawyer and activist Arun Ferreira was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. At the time, he was accused of leading the communications wing of the banned Communist Party of India-Maoist, branded an “Urban Naxal”, and was slapped with 10 cases relating to acts of terrorism. Ferreira went on to spend almost five years in the Nagpur Central Jail and was tortured in prison before being acquitted. As it turned out, the state failed to prove any of the charges against him.

And yet yesterday, in an unbelievable case of déjà vu, Ferreira was arrested once again  — now under the watchful eyes of the BJP government — and had his home raided under the same act. Over ten years after his wrongful arrest, Ferreira was once again branded an urban naxal, despite a court already proclaiming his innocence.

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