The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:
Scrap The Draconian Ordinance
The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) expresses its strong and unambiguous opposition to the promulgation of the Prevention of Terrorism ordinance. The Vajpayee government has resorted to the ordinance route to bring into force a draconian law, which will attack the democratic rights of citizens with scope for misuse on a large scale.
It seems the government has not learnt any lesson from the notorious TADA law. Thousands of innocent people were subjected to loss of liberty for prolonged periods and neither did the law help to curb terrorism in any worthwhile manner.
The government had sought to introduce the Criminal Law (amendment) bill 1995 to replace the TADA. This bill was also strongly opposed by many parties and the National Human Rights Commission. Now utilising the international situation after the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US, the BJP-led government is seeking to push through a more draconian version of the same bill. Among the obnoxious features, even those who are supposed to possess information about terrorist activities and fail to inform the authorities can be detained under this law. Further, the "intent" to threaten the unity and integrity of India can be invoked to detain people. These can be subject to gross misuse.
The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) wishes to point out that given the BJP government's record and outlook, there is an increased danger of this ordinance being used in a partisan and motivated fashion. The BJP-led government refuses to take action against Hindu extremist activities who have an "intent to threaten the unity". The VHP-Bajrang Dal activities would fall within this category. There are ample grounds to believe that only one community will be targetted.
The CPI(M) appeals to all democratic sections to be aware of the serious consequences of this ordinance and the proposed Act. All those who value democratic rights and civil liberties should unitedly demand the scrapping of this ordinance.