UP Govt introduces UPCOCA bill in Assembly; Oppn slams move

RSTV Bureau

 

Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath addressing a press conference, March 19, 2017.  Photo - PTI

File photo of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. PTI

The Uttar Pradesh government on Wednesday introduced in the state Assembly a bill to enact a stringent law on the the lines of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) to combat land mafia, mining mafia and organised crimes in the state.

The Uttar Pradesh Control of Organised Crime Bill, 2017, was introduced in the House by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath soon after the Question Hour.

The bill has been slammed by a united opposition in the state. Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and the Congress have all alleged that the bill is a tool to threaten voices against the government and can be used to suppress minorities. Opposition parties decided to oppose the bill in both houses of the state legislature.

The state cabinet had recently approved the draft of the proposed legislation which was prepared in consultation with the Law Department for an effective check on organised crime, mafia and white collared crimes.

Briefing reporters after the Cabinet meet last week, senior minister Srikant Sharma had said, “The rule of law is the top priority of the government. For this, it is essential that those indulging in mafia and goonda activities are identified and a special drive is launched against them…the bill is being brought with this purpose in mind.”

“Kidnapping for ransom, illegal mining, manufacturing illicit liquor and its sale, acquiring contracts on the basis of muscle power, organised exploitation of forest produce, trade in wildlife, fake medicines, grabbing of government and private properties, and ‘rangdari’ (extortion) will come under the ambit of the new law,” Sharma had said.

Sharma also clarified that arrangements were made to check the misuse of the bill.

Special courts would be constituted for hearing of cases lodged under the provisions of this bill and that a state-level organised crime control authority was proposed to monitor gangs involved in organised crime. Those found involved in organised crime and having security cover would no longer be extended government protection and all white-collar criminals would be treated as such, going by the provisions in the bill, Sharma said.

(With inputs from agencies)