Delhi/Mumbai, Jan 11
At least 18 sedition cases were reported in Jharkhand followed by Assam with 17 cases in 2018, as per the latest report of crime in India, released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) for 2018.
On the other hand, J& K, a State, now a Union Territory, infamous for presence of separatist forces, reported only 12 cases of sedition. However J & K witnessed a sharp increase in sedition cases up to 12 in 2018 compared to just one in 2017.
There has been sharp increase in sedition cases..35 (2016), 51(2017) and 69 (2018). Of 69 incidents of sedition reported in 2018, 47 cases were reported from Jharkhand, Jammu & Kashmir and Assam together. Besides, Kerala (9) and Manipur (4) also made it to the top 5 in the list of 2018. Assam, battling insurgency, illegal immigrants and lack of development registered offences against 27 persons.
Jharkhand and J&K, who had their share of insurgency hardly have topographical similarity or cultural proximity. But the cries of “freedom” have been reverberating in the valley since 1989, giving rise to rebellions. On the other hand in Jharkhand, the former BJP led Governments had tough time battling with Left Wing Extremism (LWE).
In Jharkhand, the Pathalgadi movement, with its epicentre in Khunti, advocated the idea of having liberated lands in the interiors where the administration’s interventions were prohibited. The villagers declared the land as liberated land through writings on stone plaques – and allegedly prohibited entry of the administration in their villages. Soon after coming to power in the end of 2019, Chief Minister Hemant Soren announced that cases against Pathalgadi supporters will be scrapped.
Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which deals with sedition, States, ‘Whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards, the Government established by law in India shall be punished with imprisonment for life, to which fine may be added,’
In the meanwhile as per the NCRB report, in 2017, 901 offences were registered under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), while that number increased up to 1,182 in 2018. They included Assam (308) followed by Manipur (289), J&K (245) and Jharkhand (137). In 2017, the highest number of such cases were registered by Manipur (330), followed by J&K (156) and UP (109).
Similarly the number of cases registered under the Official Secrets Act (OSA), increased to 40 in 2018, compared to 18 cases registered in 2017. Maharashtra registered the highest number (16) of cases under the OSA, followed by UP (7) and Punjab (5) in 2018. In 2017, the maximum number of such cases was registered by Rajasthan (4), and UP (3).
The NCRB report of 2018 was delayed by six months after the 2017 edition was released almost a year late as the bureau had added new data and many states had not provided proper data or replied to the clarifications sought. In the latest report as well, some states, such as Bihar and West Bengal, did not respond to clarifications sought by NCRB and their data was “provisional.”
Raju Vernekar is a Media Professional based in Mumbai and is a regular contributor of Imphal Times. He had served as Chief Reporter at Free Press Journal (1996 – 2015 ). His Activities includes writing for different news papers, script writing/production for TV channels, Films Division. Writing poems in Marathi, Hindi, English, Guiding mass media students and helping people to solve their problems. Raju may be contacted at [email protected]
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