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Is POTA going the TADA way?

The answer to the question in the headline is: probably, yes. If it was meant to harass the opposition, it is working fine. But if it was meant to curb terrorism, there are grave doubts about its efficacy.

That the draconian law is being used to torment the opposition is clear from Vaiko’s internment under this law, nobody knows for what. If belonging to a party other than J Jayalalithaa is an act of sedition, then Vaiko could really be put behind bars.

The latest infarction of the law came in the form of arrest of Pervez, Sayed Wasim and Abdul Latif by the Gujarat police in Ahmedabad on August 31 when an alleged Laskar-e-Tayyaba militant, Shahid Ahmad Bakhshi, said Pervez, Wasim and Latif were his associates.

Bakhshi was arrested by Delhi Police on August 30 along with Ahmad Ali and Hafiz Mohammad Tahir.

Pervez, Wasim and Abdul Latif were arrested on charge of plotting to kill Narendra Modi and other leading lights of Sangh. The three said in the court that they had helped Shahid in sending his e-mails.

The Delhi court acquitted the three honourably on September 19 on the grounds that there was no evidence of their culpability. The police themselves told there was not enough evidence against the three and the proceedings should be dropped. 

In a related development, human rights groups, including Amnesty International, have complained that the legal protection provided in POTA for the accused had not been given to Abdur Rahman Geelani, a reader in Delhi’s Zakir Hussain College.

The opposition had expressed fears of POTA’s misuse at the time this Act was being passed by parliament’s joint session. A group of eminent citizens, led by Rajni Kothari working for Geelani’s release, has also made this point.

Coming back to the point where we began: Is POTA going the TADA way? Seems so. Because TADA too had to be scrapped as most people arrested under it were hapless Muslims, and the cases against them were so unsustainable that not even one percent of the accused could be convicted.

¯ MG Correspondent 

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