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Special Task Force OR Fascist Force?

Special Task Force OR Fascist Force?

Growing anti-government sentiments in the country have been shunned and slammed with the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. The most recent arrest of ex-JNU student and activist, Umar Khalid under this act proves the same. The BJP-led government has shown signs of growing fascism in the sense that the question hour of the monsoon session of the parliament has been cancelled; many activists and students have been arrested for exercising their constitutional rights and the non-transparent functioning of the government. The most recent has to be the setting up of a Special Task Force in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

This task force will be empowered to search and arrest without a warrant, the Yogi Adityanath government said this on September 13th. The Uttar Pradesh Special Security Force or UPSSF will be tasked to protect courts, airports, administrative buildings, metros, banks and several other state government offices. Awanish Awasthi, additional chief secretary (home) commented that "eight battalions of the UPSSF will be constituted initially at a cost of ₹ 1747.06 crores". The initial infrastructure for the force would come from the PAC (Provincial Armed Constabulary), a special unit of the UP Police (Source: Hindustan Times). Awasthi also mentioned that this is a ‘dream project’ undertaken by the Yogi government. Any member of the special task force can arrest any person without the prior permission of any magistrate and without any warrant. The UP government's latest move has been criticised and opposed by many who claim that the power to search and arrest could be misused.

The opposition has readily condemned this institution and compared it with the colonial law called the Rowlatt Act which has similar provisions. The Rowlatt Act was misused against the Indian leaders fighting the colonial regime. This particular act is also known as the ‘black act’ was passed by the Imperial Legislative Council in Delhi in 1919 indefinitely extending the emergency measures of preventive indefinite detention, incarceration without trial and judicial review enacted in the Defence of India Act, 1915 during the First World War.

Chief Minister, Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath (Source: The Logical Indian)

The judiciary has not said anything in favour or against such a provision. However, it is imperative to understand the nature of such a task force. With draconian acts like UAPA in place and actively used, a force like so is extremely dangerous. Anti-establishment and anti-government and especially minorities have been under attack from the state under UAPA. Multiple arrests have been made and getting bail is itself a huge problem. Dr Kafeel Khan who was charged under the National Security Act (NSA) was recently released from jail after 8 months. The Allahabad High Court called his detention illegal and mentioned that his speech did not show any effort to promote hate or violence.

This very attempt shows that such tough laws are being used arbitrarily by the state to curtail voices of individuals practising their constitutional right. This implementation and placing of this new task force add up to the fascist nature of the BJP maintaining its propaganda in order to push its selfish goals.

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