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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Maharashtra plans tough security law to deal with Naxals

Under the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act (CSPSA), 2005, “unlawful activities” include posing a danger to peace in society, posing or tending to pose an obstacle to maintenance of public order and encouraging the disobedience of law among others.

| Mumbai | Updated: January 3, 2020 7:54:06 am
Maharashtra Assembly, Maharashtra Naxal laws, Naxal laws Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, CSPSA, India news, Indian Express “To keep a check on Naxal activities, a decision will be taken on bringing in a law on the lines of Chhattisgarh government’s Special Public Security Act, after discussing it with the Chief Minister,” said Maharashtra Home Minister (Express Photo: Partha Paul)

THE Maharashtra government is considering the introduction of a Special Public Security Act, on the lines of Chhattisgarh, to “keep a check on Naxal activities” in the state.

“To keep a check on Naxal activities, a decision will be taken on bringing in a law on the lines of Chhattisgarh government’s Special Public Security Act, after discussing it with the Chief Minister,” said Maharashtra Home Minister Eknath Shinde.

Officials said Shinde, who visited Gadchiroli district last month, held a meeting with senior police officers earlier this week to discuss issues raised by officials there.

An official said police officers had raised the demand for bringing in such a law three years ago. “Now, the home, law and judiciary departments have been asked to study the Chhattisgarh government’s law, and take all other aspects into account to prepare a draft law that will be effective for our state,” said the official.

Under the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act (CSPSA), 2005, “unlawful activities” include posing a danger to peace in society, posing or tending to pose an obstacle to maintenance of public order and encouraging the disobedience of law among others. It also punishes membership of, as well as contribution to, organisations that the state terms as unlawful.

The CSPSA has come in for criticism from activists, lawyers and tribals, who allege that the law can be used as an instrument of harassment and crushing dissent. They point to the loose definitions of criminality in the law, and say these can be misused.

An IPS officer who has served in Gadchiroli said while the law will help the police, it cannot work in isolation. “There has to be good infrastructure, in terms of setting up proper health centres and schools. In order to ensure an environment where people are not scared of reaching out to the government, such a law could help. But these two things must go hand in hand if one is serious about bringing changes on the ground,” he said.

He said in Chhattisgarh, police officers had seen an improved rate of conviction after the 2005 legislation came into force.

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