Originally written and produced by TatKhalsa
Early in October, the ruling party in Punjab – the Shiromani Akali Dal took advantage of it’s power as a majority government by moving several bills in the last hour of the last day of session in Punjab’s Vidhan Sabha, without debate. Unilaterally, the ruling SAD-BJP combine dictated the details of several new draconian bills in Punjab, outright ignoring the democratic process. These new bills are unquestionably draconian, eliminating the right of Punjab’s people to protest and essentially giving the Special Security Group a license to kill.
One of the bills, the Punjab Special Security Group Bill is geared towards creating a special police force which is in essence above the law:
Section 4:(I) There shall be an armed force of the State of Punjab, to be called the Special Security Group, for combating anti-national forces and for providing proximate security to the highly threatened persons and the members of their immediate families…
Section 14: No suit, prosecution or other legal proceeding shall lie against the Group or any member thereof on whom powers have been conferred or duties have been imposed under this Act, or any order issued or any rule or regulation made thereunder for anything, which is in good faith done or purported to be done or omitted to be done in pursuance of this Act or any order issued or any rule or regulation made thereunder or any order issued under any such rule or regulation, as the case may be.
In addition, the Punjab Prevention of Damage to Public and Private Property Bill was also passed which creates huge hurdles in the path of those who wish to exercise their democratic right to protest. In Punjab, if you want to protest – you have to get the State police’s permission first. According to Section 3:
Whosever, wants to organize a peaceful demonstration, march or procession, shall make an application to the District Magistrate or the Commissioner, as the case may be, for taking permission to hold such demonstration, march, or procession.
This bill goes on to dictate that after receiving permission from the DM or DC, applicants must get permission from their local SP and subsequently adhere to the SP’s guidelines and parameters.
When the government itself is strangling the democratic process and is awarding it’s police machinery the ability to kill without consequence, who is to blame when the people revolt?