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Enact fresh legislation to replace ‘draconian’ UAPA, former bureaucrats tell government

More than 100 retired bureaucrats on Monday demanded that the government replace the “draconian” Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act with a legislation that fights terrorism but also protects personal liberties.

The group of former officers, called the Constitutional Conduct Group, said there were many loopholes and flaws in the law, which made it susceptible to misuse by politicians and the police.

In an open letter to the citizens of India, they spoke about how the anti-terror law was used against activists and academicians in the Bhima Koregaon case. Fourteen of the people accused in the case remain in prison in Maharashtra, charged under the stringent law for allegedly conspiring to set off caste violence in a village near Pune in 2018.

Tribal rights activist Stan Swamy, one of the accused in the case, died in custody in July after being repeatedly denied bail despite his frail health.

The former bureaucrats also cited examples of student activists Devangana Kalita, Natasha Narwal and Asif Iqbal Tanha, who had been charged under UAPA and jailed in connection with a case related to the communal violence in North East Delhi in 2020.

The Delhi High Court had granted them bail in June this year. While passing the bail order, a division bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Anup…

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