Finally, the State Police Department has realized that it has been invoking Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) without reason in one out of three cases registered the state in the past five years. A panel headed by the state police chief Loknath Behra found that the UAPA will not stand legal scrutiny in 42 out of 162 cases since 2012.

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The panel reviewed the cases after the state government drew flak for misuse of the act, which is widely criticized as draconian by human rights activists. As per the review, the state police will now approach the respective courts to scrap the charges under UAPA invoked in these cases. The DGP has directed district police chiefs to furnish the details of the cases in which the UAPA was imposed without valid reason.

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Most of the UAPA cases were reported from areas known as ‘Maoist infested’. The state government had come in the line of fire for slapping UAPA even in instances of calling for poll boycott and for helping Maoists. The recent incidents of imposing UAPA against film activists and writers had invited the wrath of the civil society movements, human rights activists and even from within the ruling Left Democratic Front.

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The government was forced to review the UAPA cases after public resentment and protests grew stronger against misuse of the act. The cases against film activist Nadeer and writer Kamal C Chavara once again exposed the problems of involved in using the act as a means of suppression. After repeated misuse of UAPA, the DGP made approval from higher ups before slapping the provisions of the act, which is meant to check anti-national and terrorist activities.