According to the latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report, Assam tops the list of Indian states with cases under ‘crimes against the state’, including charges of sedition.
The release of the NCRB data has drawn sharp criticism from the opposition and legal experts, who have accused the BJP-led Assam government of using strict provisions of the law to “suppress voices of dissent” with the help of a “police state”. accused of is doing
According to the NCRB report, Assam registered a total of 35 cases of ‘crimes against the state’ against 36 persons in 2021.
In Offenses Against the State Division, the NCRB has included five sections of the Indian Penal Code. These are 124A (sedition), 121 (waging or attempting to wage war), 121A (conspiracy to commit an offense punishable by section 121), 122 (collecting arms for waging war), and 123 (facilitating design for waging war). hiding).
In May this year, the Supreme Court stayed the penal law under Section 124A of the IPC.
Last year, Assam registered three cases of sedition against three persons, while it registered 32 FIRs under four other sections of the IPC and named 33 persons in them, the NCRB said.
After Assam, Andhra Pradesh is second with 30 cases of crimes against the state, Jammu and Kashmir with 13 cases and Manipur with 10 cases. The number of such cases registered by the rest of the states and Union Territories is in single digits.
Reacting to the NCRB data, Leader of Opposition Debabrata Saikia said there are many instances in the state where sedition cases have been registered for simple offences.
The Assam government did not follow the guidelines of the Supreme Court in registering such cases. He told PTI that the BJP government of Assam has imposed police rule in the state and caused unnecessary trouble to the people.
Saikia, a senior Congress leader, claimed that the conviction rate of such cases in the state is very low even though it has registered the highest number of cases.
It is really unfortunate that Assam Police is being used for political reasons. Even the DGP sometimes makes some objectionable comments, which do not come under the purview of the law. This is because they have political patronage.
Riser Dal president and MLA Akhil Gogoi claimed that most of the cases registered for ‘crimes against the state’ are related to public comments on social media like Facebook.
People are being prosecuted even for simple criticism of the government. Police register more cases of sedition when someone criticizes communalism and the failing economy. However, the chief minister sometimes ordered withdrawal of some cases later, he added.
Gogoi, who has been facing 22 sedition charges since the BJP came to power in Assam in 2016, as well as several UA(P)A and more stringent measures for his street activism over the years , alleged that complaints from the general public were treated as “hostile”. -national”.
This is the era of fascism under BJP rule. He asserted that if Assam has registered the highest number of cases against the state during the period of fascism, it means that the people of the state are the most aware in the country.
CPI(M) Assam state secretary Suprakash Talukdar said the current government has become “very vindictive” and files sedition cases even in “temporary cases” without properly analyzing the offences.
The government has become more intolerant, that is the main reason. We have also seen several such cases against alleged jihadist elements. But what is the fate of those cases? Were they convicted? asked the Talukdar.
Guwahati High Court lawyer Santnu Borthakur told PTI that he has seen more use of such tough cases in the past few years, especially after 2016 when the BJP first came to power in Assam.
There is a growing tendency to criminalize the voice of dissent. Even comments made on social media are labeled sedition and people are jailed. NCRB data shows that states are trying to stifle the voice of dissent. Weaponizing laws, he added.
On the other hand, advocate Bijan Mahajan supported the registration of a case under the sections of ‘crime against the state’ and said that the Assam government is on the right track.
Most of these cases are against jihadists. Mahajan, who is also a BJP member, said these activities should be stopped at any cost and the state was right to register such cases against them.