Maharashtra trying to enact special powers law: Congress

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Mumbai, Aug 23 (IANS) The Maharashtra Congress on Tuesday strongly criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena combine ruling in the state for what it said was a dictatorial move to bring in a law that gave special powers to the police.

The opposition party also said it will launch an agitation against the proposed law.

State Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant blasted the proposal to formulate the Maharashtra Protection of Internal Security Act, 2016, (MPISA) and said it proposed to give sweeping powers to the police.

“The MPISA is similar to the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. It is nothing but a sort of special powers Act to arm police with draconian and dictatorial powers,” Sawant told media persons here.

The state government recently invited suggestions and objections on the draft law which Sawant said would put a question mark on the civil liberties of the people.

Leader of Opposition in the assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil is expected to give his reply on the MPISA on Wednesday.

“We already have seen AFSPA experience and reactions against it in the north-east and Jammu and Kashmir,” Sawant said while spelling out MPISA provisions.

“MPISA is severe. For instance, if you want to invite 100 persons for a private function, a birthday or a marriage party, you will be required to take police clearance,” the Congress leader said.

Moreover, the proposed Internal Security Committee is also grossly one-sided with only government representation, he said.

While the state Home Minister will be its ex-officio chairman, Minister of State for Home, Chief Secretary, Additional Chief Secretary of the Home Department, the Director-General of Police, Mumbai Police Commissioner will be members and state Intelligence Department chief the member-secretary.

“There is no role of the Leaders of Opposition, non-governmental organisations, prominent citizens, independent experts and others concerned on the panel,” Sawant said.



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