Indian State has a long history of repressing the democratic rights of the people inherited from the practices of the British Raj and strengthened in successive years by passing anti-democratic laws.


After independence, government decided to retain the Preventive Detention Act, which left and progressive groups had long campaigned against during the Raj.  However, facing protests and uprisings of the people for their social and economic rights, the rulers began to pass a series of laws designed to circumvent the basic freedoms granted by the Constitution.  Among these were the Unlawful Activities and Prevention Act of 1967, amended in 2004, the notorious Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) passed in 1973 under Mrs. Gandhi’s rule that was subsequently used during the infamous Emergency to jail her political opponents, the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) of 1981, used to ban strikes by the working class and repress workers generally, the Terrorist Activities Disruption Act (TADA) of 1987 passed during the Khalistani uprising, and the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2001 passed under the BJP-led NDA in sympathy with the Sept. 11 events in the US, subsequently repealed under UPA after intense public criticism.   Underlying all these is the Armed Forces Special Powers Act that has been in force for many years and applied especially against political movements in the northeast of India and in J&K.


While the new states of Telengana and Andhra have come into being only a few months ago, they have lost no time in applying black anti-democratic laws and means of curbing protest by resorting to mass arrests of leftists and civil liberties activists.

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