People’s Tribunal Releases POTA Report

July 18, 2004 | Comments Off on People’s Tribunal Releases POTA Report

Last week, the Union Law Minister Ram Jethmalani released the People’s Tribunal report on the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA):

At a press conference here today to mark the release of the People’s Tribunal’s report on POTA and other security legislation, Mr. Jethmalani said: “I did support the enactment of the Act, but I now realise it was a serious mistake. I did not realise that such draconian power should not be given to the investigating agencies and police. This power has been misused and very badly, so much so that the debits balance of the Act overwhelms its advantages. I am glad the new Government is bound by its manifesto to repeal the Act and I believe it shall be fulfilled soon.”

The People’s Tribunal on POTA and other security legislation was held here in March this year. It documented cases of illegal custody, solitary confinement, forced confession, sexual and religious humiliation, encounter killings and disappearances of about 200 people who attended the public hearing. These testimonies, often of innocent people booked under the Act, have been documented in the report.

Justice Hosbet Suresh, Supreme Court lawyer Nitya Ramakrishnan and senior advocate of the Human Rights Law Network Colin Gonsalves also made remarks at the release event.  Teesta Setalvad criticized the role of the media:

Human rights activist Teesta Setalvad, one of the conveners of the Tribunal, said the media was abdicating its responsibility by accepting reports dished out by the police and intelligence services without asking enough questions.


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