student leaders


An overview over previously amended UAPA, aimed to counter terrorists, has resulted in terrorised dissidents instead.

Free speech, political dissention, and even mild criticism, might get anyone designated as ‘terrorist’ by the Centre, ever since Home Minister Amit Shah, in a sovereign state, proposed the amended version of an already ‘draconian law’ called, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), and it somewhat suits the ‘rishta vohi soch nayi’ narrative with its uncanny resemblance to the Rowlatt Act of 1919 set by the colonisers to criminalise protests.

What is UAPA?

In 1967, UAPA was passed for the first time in the parliament, and it gave the entitlement to the government to designate any ‘organisation’ as ‘unlawful.’ It further defined and criminalised what it seemed as unlawful. However in 2004, Manmohan Singh led Congress further amended it without getting it scrutinised by the special committee. The government was disposed with more power, defined terrorism, and could declare any organisation as ‘terrorist.’ It also empowered the police with enhanced power of interrogation, which was often abused as a harassment tool.

What does the 2019 amendment say?
The recent changes proposed by the Home Minister Amit Shah, which were passed in the Lok Sabha owning to heavy NDA majority and smooth relations in Rajya Sabha, allowed the interference of National Investigation Agency (NIA) to mess with the federal system, and most importantly declare any ‘individual’ as opposed to what was ‘organisation’ as ‘terrorist.’ This too was passed sans the scrutiny of the select committee.

Who are the categorically individual terrorists?

The Home Minister made it very clear that individuals who participate, fund, or engage in raising funds for terrorist activities, shall be treated along the lines of this act.

Most importantly he said, “those are terorists who attempt to plant terrorist literature and terorist theory in the minds of the young, guns do not give rise to terrorism, the root of it is the propaganda that is done to spread it.”

The Problematic Aspects

At no point does the law define what is terrorist literature and theory, for all one may have a copy of The Communist Manifesto and the Centre can use that as evidence.

Also what is the urgent need of the government to go after individuals specifically, when under chapter four of the same act provides for the accused to be prosecuted and punished if found guilty by the courts? Perhaps it’s that ‘if’ they want to win over, by curtailing a person’s right to get bail, or proper redressal. On average 75% cases under UAPA ended in acquittal over three years ending 2016 as per Business Standards’ analysis of NCRB data. It only raises skepticism if the Centre is trying to overstep this trend by removing the redressal system all and for once.

Who all are booked under this so far?
Jaish-e-Mohammad founder Masoor Azhar, Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed, Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim. However, individuals with no organisation backing who were arrested post the amendment included Kashmiri photojournalist Masrat Jahan, Kashmiri journalist Gowhar Geelani, peasant leader Akhil Gogoi, student leaders, Meeran Haider, Safoora Zargar and Umar Kahlid.


There’s scope of some appeal in this contentious law which would take minimum 100 days and maximum uncertain days, for the heeding to go through the Home Ministry which itself labelled the accused as terrorist in the first place, and review committee, until then, one is a terrorist until proven otherwise, without grant to bail, or lawyer, and it’s all because the State with enhanced centralised power in a democracy simply believed so without any evidence.

Featured Image Credits: The Quint

Umaima Khanam

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With the demise of India’s former Finance minister, Shri Arun Jaitley on 23rd August, 2019 and the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) elections around the corner, the Delhi High Court has asked the University of Delhi (DU) not be “too harsh” on student leaders since they have the potential to become the leaders of the country in future.

As reported by NDTV, while addressing a grievance of defacement of public property during 2017 DUSU elections, the High Court stated that the country gets great leaders from student leaders and the University authorities should not be too harsh on them for their activities during Students’ Union elections.

In a status report presented to the bench previously, a list of 15 students was rolled out who had been involved in the activities destruction of both public and private properties by spray paints and other means of causing defacement.

The bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar said, in an apparent reference to Jaitley, “Don’t be too harsh on them. Don’t put ban on everything. From student leaders, we sometime get great leaders for the country. You know the examples; you must have seen it yesterday,”

The bench also said that civil and criminal action would be initiated as per the law if anyone is found involved in damaging either public or private properties. It also asked that the Centre, the University and the police ensure that all the guidelines are followed and adhered to during this year’s election process. The message of having a wide publicity to be given to penal actions if anyone was found defacing public property was also given out.

The High Court had earlier said prevention of defacement of property during student body polls in the DU was more important than taking action against candidates after they indulge in such activity. It had also suggested putting in place deterrents like disqualification of candidates to prevent defacement of property during the student body polls.

It is thus, hoped that this election season for the DU rolls out peacefully without damage to any person or property and leaders of our future find their way into the government through their political journeys in DU.

Feature Image Credits: Rishabh Gogoi for DU Beat

With Inputs from NDTV

Amrashree Mishra

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The college campuses are filled with shouting drones and we are walking on the carpet of pamphlets. Each year, the election season brings out people who want to bring about positive changes. However, in recent years, it has been noticed that while names and faces of the candidates change, their promises never really do. There is a culture of never addressing the right issues.

To break the monotony of the current political scene, we take a look at a few world leaders and what our future Student Union leaders can take away from them:

Angela Merkel – Chancellor, Germany

A winner of 3 General Elections and the only continental leader whose term predates the 2008 financial crisis, Angela Merkel has dominated European politics for almost a decade now. A strong and radical leader, she became a convictional politician who took decisions of welcoming 1 million migrants and refugees into Germany. Thus, she was successful in putting compassion, charity and, humanity ahead of realpolitik.

Our student leaders can take lessons about tolerance and the value of humanity, charity and compassion from Angela Merkel’s humane decisions!

Aung San Suu Kyi – Leader, National League for Democracy, Myanmar

A Delhi University alumna, she is a leader who is recognised worldwide today. As the co-founder of National League for Democracy, she renounced violence to fight Myanmar’s despotism, despite being subjected to house arrest for about 20 years. Her personal sacrifice gathered global support for her cause and also earned her Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.

Student Union aspirants can note that it’s not always violent demonstrations which yield effective results. Peaceful demonstrations can also move authorities and governments to great lengths.

Justin Trudeau – Prime Minister, Canada

An upbeat leader with a fresh outlook and intellect, he is probably the world’s most favourite political leader right now! With a pledge to resettle 25000 Syrian refugees, Justin Trudeau made waves with his liberal cabinet which had regional, cultural and gender balance. He is changing the face of western politics swiftly with his rare optimism, be it through his climate change policies or legalisation of marijuana. Our student leaders can definitely gain from following in the footsteps of Justin Trudeau. His policies are pragmatic and effective. Be it foreign policies or Quantum computing, Trudeau has a sensible answer to every question.

Our student leaders can learn the power of intelligence, optimism and charisma from the current Prime Minister of Canada.

Image Credits: www.wikipedia.org

Nidhi Panchal

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