State governments are using a draconian colonial-era regulation to shut down the protestors erupting in the wake of the controversial new citizenship law in India.
Section 144, a provision written into law by the Britishers to shut down public gatherings as a provisionary measure, is now being used as in every state to diffuse dissent. As the law comes under the criminal cadre, protestors detained can be tried at the mercy of the police.
Last week the ban was imposed in parts of the capital, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh state and some areas of Karnataka state. As protestors to move ahead with their schedules, the police came in full force and detained thousands of protestors in a single day.
Many believe the law has been misused to try to stifle protests. Constitutional law expert Gautam Bhatia says that the law is being misused, and is setting the worst precedents.
The imposition has been challenged in the Supreme Court and the State Courts, but the thought of worry is not protestors being detained, but the government’s refusal to address criticism against his policies.
Here’s how Gautam Bhatia accessed the situation:
“For example, if you know that a mob is gathering somewhere and there are going to be incendiary speeches directing the mob to burn down buildings then you can preventively restrict that assembly. But you can’t simply restrict these rights just on the basis of a possible fear that some people at some point can turn violent. That would defeat the entire purpose of having the right in the first place.”
Take care. Toodles for now.