Lawyers’ groups condemn anti-terror charges against members of Tripura fact-finding team

The lawyers’ groups All India Lawyers Association for Justice (AILAJ) and All India Lawyers Union (AILU) has released statements condemning the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act charges against two lawyers advocate Mukesh and advocate Ansar Indori who were members of a fact-finding team to Tripura, to uncover the “targeted attacks on Muslims” in Tripura, Maktoob Media reported.

Tripura Police have registered a case under the draconian UAPA against Mukesh of PUCL and Indori of NCHRO on Wednesday and notices, under Section 41 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), were sent to both lawyers.

The UAPA notices to lawyers, according to AILAJ, betray “the communal nature of the Tripura police and attempt to suppress the reality of these communal incidents.”

Both the lawyers have been asked to appear before the West Agartala police station by 10 November.

Apart from UAPA, the charges against Mukesh and Indori include sections 153-A and B (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc), 469 (forgery for purpose of harming reputation), 503 (criminal intimidation), 504 ( (intentional insult with intent to provoke the breach of peace), and 120B (punishment for criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The notice had demanded the lawyers to “immediately delete these fabricated and false statements/comments made/circulated by you in the social media.”

“Inclusion of such a direction (to delete social media posts) is a clear presumption of guilt on the part of the police, and a violation of the cardinal principle of presumption of innocence,” read AILAJ’s statement.

All India Lawyers Union urged the authorities to “stop the persecution of lawyers and activists” and to withdraw the draconian charges against the fact-finding team members.

The fresh UAPA cases, according to AILU, violate the democratic and constitutional rights of lawyers.

AILAJ had also demanded that the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court be holistically implemented, by “initiating necessary proceedings against the organisers and perpetrators of communal violence destroying property, instead of issuance of false and for release cases.”

The fact-finding team consisting of Supreme Court lawyer Ehtesham Hashmi, Advocate Amit Srivastav from Lawyers for Democracy, Advocate Ansar Indori of the National Confederation of Human Rights Organizations (NCHRO), and Advocate Mukesh, on behalf of the Civil Rights Organization People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) released their findings on the anti-Muslim violence in Tripura, at Delhi’s Press Club on Tuesday.

Tripura’s BJP government and state police had claimed that there was no law and order problem in the state and no mosques were burnt by Hindutva groups despite reports of several anti-Muslim crimes across the northeast state.

Tripura police said that the groups from outside had concocted a conspiracy against the administration.


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