Sunday, February 25, 2024

UAPA cases on a hike: NCRB annual report

Photo By shaheen Abdulla/Maktoob

Widely and heavily criticised draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), has seen a 23 per cent rise from previous years, according to the newly released annual report of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). 

While 814 UAPA cases were lodged in 2021, the number reached 1,005 last year, according to current data.

Jammu and Kashmir reported the largest number of cases under the UAPA with a rise of 289 cases in 2021 to 371 cases in 2022. Manipur holds the second place with 167 UAPA FIRs in 2022 as compared to 157 in 2021. Punjab and Haryana also reported a significant rise in cases under UAPA from previous years.

The report shows an overall increase in the cases under the category of “offences against the state”. 5,610 cases were reportedly filed last year, whereas the number was 5,164 in 2021.

Social critics observe the rise as a testimony to the worsened state of freedom of speech and expression in the country.

NCRB figures state that the investigation in over 241 cases under sedition and 5,610 under the UAPA are pending. Around  only 4 sedition cases and 52 UAPA cases were reported to be “ended” in the final report as the allegations were found to be “false”.

The offences under the tag “against the state”  include those under sedition, the UAPA, damage to public property, The Officials Secrets Act, and others. 

Uttar Pradesh tops the list with more than 2,231 cases, followed by Tamil Nadu (634) and J-K (417).

A total of 13,977 cases related to such offences are yet to be investigated and 32,000 are pending in courts. While 38 people were arrested in sedition cases,  2,636 individuals were arrested on charges under the UAPA. Altogether, 9,375 people were arrested in these cases.

In Uttar Pradesh alone, over 3,647 arrests were recorded last year for crimes “against the state”. This is more than one-third of total arrests in the country, followed by Tamil Nadu (1,515 arrests) and J&K (1,309 arrests).

Meanwhile, sedition cases in India witnessed a sharp decline with the report showing that only 20 cases were registered last year, while 76 cases were filed in 2021.

The Supreme Court has recently suspended the colonial-era sedition law temporarily, but there are cases which are still pending under trial and are under investigation. Only the states of West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, and Uttar Pradesh have lodged cases under sedition laws.

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