Groups form front to protest against Gujarat anti-terror bill
“This government has introduced this bill (Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime Bill 2015) to gag democratic rights of the citizens and every dissenting voice. Therefore we have formed ‘Gujarat Jan Andolan’ to protest against this black and draconian law,” city-based lawyer and member of the front, Rajesh Mankad, told reporters here today.
On March 31, Gujarat Assembly had passed the Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime Bill 2015 (GCTOC) for the fourth time with a majority in the absence of Congress MLAs, who had staged a walk out in protest.
The anti-GCTOC front comprises city-based organisations like Jan Sangharsh Manch, Darshan, Members of Secular Democracy as well as religious groups like Jamaat-e-Islami and All India Milli Council, Mankad said.
“This law is as unconstitutional and draconian as the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) since it will give all power to the police. Statements made by the accused in custody before a police officer would be given legal validity under this law,” Mankad said.
All India Milli Council president Mufti Rizwan Tarapuri alleged that BJP-led government has tried to implement the agenda of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
“Gujarat has always been a laboratory for the RSS and BJP to test as well as implement their anti-secular agenda. The BJP-led state government is again trying to test another move in the form of this bill in Gujarat,” Tarapuri said.
“If they succeed in passing this bill in Gujarat, then there is every chance that they may introduce such bills in other states of the country,” Tarapuri said.
City-based activist Dwarkanath Rath representing Members of Secular Democracy said that the BJP-led Gujarat state government wants to suppress voices of dissent and has hence introduced this bill.
“Farmers have been protesting against the Land Acquisition Bill as well as the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC). So the BJP-led Gujarat government has introduced this draconian law which would enable the police to keep any person in custody for 180 days and where phones of any person can be intercepted at will,” Rath said.
“After reading GCTOC provisions, it is clear that the bill has been introduce with the intention of suppressing all those protesting, in the garb of controlling organised crime,” Rath said.
Gujarat Jan Andolan is also set to make an appeal to Gujarat Governor O P Kohli and President of India Pranab Mukerjee not to sign this bill, he said.
City-based activist and lawyer Shamshad Pathan said that the anti-GCTOC front would also approach the court if the bill became law.
Pathan also said that the front had sought permission to protest against GCTOC at the Sardarbaugh area here, but the city police commissioner has denied permission claiming that there is a probability of accidents taking place due to such a protest, though a demonstration was held at the same spot merely a week ago.