Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Chhattisgarh anti-terror law to go if Congress returns: Ajit Jogi

Chhattisgarh's controversial anti-terror law will be repealed if the Congress is voted to power in the November assembly elections, former chief minister Ajit Jogi says.

"Repeal of the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act (CSPSA) will be the top priority of the Congress government (if it is formed after the polls)," Jogi told IANS in an interview in Raipur.

Mineral-rich Chhattisgarh's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government enacted the CSPSA, which has been likened to the defunct Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act (POTA) that was repealed by the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh soon after it assumed office in 2004.

"There is no need for CSPSA as existing laws are more than enough to deal with any given situation," said the Congress leader, who has been confined to a wheelchair since a horrific car crash in April 2004.

This is the first time any Congress heavyweight in Chhattisgarh has commented on the fate of the CSPSA, which human right groups describe as a "black law".

Over 40 people have been arrested under the act since it came into force in 2005 and have been charged with Maoist links. The most prominent among those held is physician Binayak Sen, vice president of the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL).

Sen was held May 14, 2007, in Bilaspur town and is now facing treason and other charges in a court here after the Chhattisgarh High Court and the Supreme Court rejected his bail plea.


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