The state government’s draft of new internal security law that envisages declaring special security zones (SSZ) for areas that face continued threat of insurgency and terror has irked the opposition and activists alike in Maharashtra.
HT had first reported on this draft which was put in the public domain on Saturday, seeking suggestions and objections from the people.
The opposition has termed the provision to declare SSZ as draconian and undemocratic.
The draft gives the state government powers to clear separate rules and greater powers to police in such areas to tackle organised crime or insurgency. This includes ban on entry and movement of electronic devices, chemicals and in flow of funds in those areas.
Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant told HT, “This draft gives unbridled powers to the police and the intention behind such a law is to muzzle democratic dissent and not terror or crime. There can be no suggestions or objections to it, the entire draft has to be taken back.”
The Nationalist Congress Party has also termed the draft law as a means to muzzle dissent and threatened to carry out an agitation if the contentious draft was not taken back.
“First the government tried to bring in an order allowing sedition charges to be applied against criticism of those in power. After that was held back, now through this law they are trying to suppress all opposition and create an emergency-like situation,” said NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik.
The state government however, in its defence, has said that the draft has not been finalised and is open to changes. A home department official told HT that the idea behind the provision was to curb organised crime and terrorism and bring critical infrastructure sectors like water systems, transportations, defence vulnerable as targets under the ambit of better security.