The BJP-ruled Maharashtra government has released the draft of Maharashtra Protection of Internal Security Act (MPISA) on August 20 and asked for "suggestions and objections" of people. Past experience of people has shown that the government has no desire to seek enlightened opinion of the working class and people. Its real intent is to manufacture consent of the people for this fascist law.
The state of Maharashtra already has the notorious and strongly opposed Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act (MCOCA),since 1999, over and above the access to all the anti-democratic, anti-people laws like Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) of the central government. Maharashtra will become the first state in the country to have its own internal security legislation.
The draft proposes to carve special security zones, or SSZs, where movement of arms, explosives and inflow of unaccounted funds will be prohibited. The SSZs will cover dams, defence establishments, government facilities and buildings, nuclear reactors and transportation systems, all of which have been identified as 'critical infrastructure sectors'. The SSZs will have a separate police infrastructure, command and control system, and standard operating procedure for the SSZ police. Under the Act, any device or substance that can lead to explosions or threaten public safety and order can be proscribed altogether from the special security zone, or regulated.
The creation of SSZs will lead to further increase in the strength of police force and give them arbitrary powers. Under the Act, prior police permission for any assembly of more than 100 persons in SSZs will be necessary. Worse, violators will face up to three years in jail. Police will have unbridled powers to refuse any public activities.
The law also makes it mandatory for all private institutes to carry out CCTV surveillance and fortify their premises with police presence. The video recordings from the security cameras are required to be stored for up to 30 days. The information thus collected will obviously be used by the police and security forces to identify and threaten the participants in any protests. The intention very clearly is to spread fear amongst working people so that they are dissuaded from raising their voice against any injustice. This provision will lead to further intrusion of police in the lives of people.
Under the proposed Act, police can’t be portrayed in “bad light” and anybody doing so will be liable for prosecution.
When the then Congress-led Maharashtra government had proposed MCOCA, trade union activists, human rights activists and communists had vigorously opposed the Act and warned that the Act will not curb organized crime but will instead be used against working people. This exactly has been the experience of people of Maharashtra.
People of Maharashtra also remember as to how government tried to bring in an order allowing sedition charges to be applied against criticism of those in power. The huge opposition of people forced the state government to withdraw the proposal.
Working people, from their experience, know that any laws or steps which tend to increase the power in the hands of the Indian State, will always result in more suppression of their rights; all such laws are used to protect the interests of the ruling capitalist class, controlling the state. Big Indian capitalists have been urging the Indian state to speed up economic reforms, which are being vigorously opposed by the working class and other toilers. The purpose of the MPISA is to suppress and crush this opposition.
Communist Ghadar Party denounces this attempt of Maharashtra Government and calls upon the people of Maharashtra to unitedly oppose the proposed MPISA.