Jamaat-e-Islami Hind voices concern over new criminal laws, condemns increase in mob lynching incidents post-elections

July 6, 2024

New Delhi: The Vice President of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH), Prof Salim Engineer expressed deep concern regarding the recent changes to India’s criminal justice system, with the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) being replaced by the newly passed Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita (BNS) and the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS) laws. Addressing the JIH monthly press conference, he said that simple amendments to the IPC, CrPC, and Evidence Act would have been more appropriate than rewriting the entire laws. The laws were passed in December 2023 without proper discussion in Parliament, while many opposition members were suspended. While the government claims to have abolished the old sedition law, a new, more stringent section was introduced which was similar to the old sedition law.

Discussing the new laws, Mr. Nadeem Khan, Secretary, Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR) said, “Under the new laws, it is discretionary for the police to register FIRs for crimes punishable by 3 to 7 years of imprisonment, potentially leading to corruption and making it difficult for marginalized sections to file FIRs. Furthermore, the new laws allowed police to request custody for up to 15 days anytime during a 60 to 90-day period. This could result in longer detentions and misuse of power, undermining civil liberties. It appears that the new laws may lead to a “police state” where “jail will become the rule” and “bail the exception”. Mr Khan informed that APCR would be approaching the Supreme Court against the various draconian portions in the laws.

The APCR Secretary also expressed profound concern over the alarming increase in communal violence, lynching incidents, and demolitions targeting the Muslim community across various regions of the country following the recent Lok Sabha elections. He presented a brief report by the APCR that tracked the various hate crimes and targeted killings of the Muslim community post-election. Mr. Khan emphasized that the various state governments, both BJP and Congress must take a firm stand against these heinous acts of violence and ensure the safety and security of every citizen. He also called upon the MPs of the INDIA alliance and those in the Opposition to strongly address these concerns in Parliament.

Prof. Salim Engineer expressed strong concern over the allegations and controversies surrounding the NEET (UG) 2024 examination. He said that allegations of paper leaks were serious and required a thorough investigation to uncover the truth and ensure the integrity of the examination process. The NEET crisis had caused considerable stress for students and severely eroded their confidence in the examination system. Similarly, the cancellation of the UGC-NET 2024 exam was a very serious blunder by the NTA, affecting the future of lakhs of students. Rather than defending the NTA without a detailed investigation, Prof. Engineer insisted that the government should prioritize an impartial inquiry into these allegations. The JIH Vice President said that the concept of “One nation – one exam” had proved to be a big failure, with the NTA failing to administer exams on such a huge scale effectively. Jamaat-e-Islami Hind urged the government to decentralize these exams and conduct them through state governments. Prof. Engineer demanded that the government take urgent steps to restore faith in the examination system and punish those found guilty of irregularities and malpractices.

JIH National Secretary Maulana Shafi Madani, expressed grave concern over the sudden decline in public safety in the country. Talking about the Kanchanjunga Express train accident on June 19, 2024; he said that the accident resulted in the death of 15 passengers and injured more than 60. This tragic event underscored that no lessons had been learned from past mistakes, nor had any corrective measures been taken. Similarly, the fire in a Gaming Zone in Rajkot Gujarat led to scores of young men losing their lives. Another tragic incident was the Delhi Airport accident on June 28, where a canopy collapsed, and killed a taxi driver. The tragic stampede at a religious gathering in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh, claimed the lives of over 120 individuals, the majority of whom were women. Maulana Shafi Madani called on the government to implement stringent measures to avert similar accidents in the future. He asserted that public safety should always be the topmost priority of the government.

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