Bill aimed at curbing Naxal menace, unlawful activities tabled in Maharashtra assembly

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Mumbai, Jul 11 (PTI) The Maharashtra government on Thursday tabled a bill in the assembly aimed at preventing unlawful activities of individuals and organisations, with Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis stressing the need to curb the rising presence of Naxal outfits in rural and urban areas through effective legal means.

Named as 'Maharashtra Special Public Security Act 2024, this bill is seen to curb the menace of Naxalism and its sympathisers in urban areas.

Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha have enacted Public Security Acts for effective prevention of unlawful activities.

The bill tabled in the Lower House of the state legislature describes unlawful activities as indulging in or propagating acts of violence, vandalism or other acts generating fear and apprehension in the public. Indulging in or encouraging use of firearms, explosives or other devices, encouraging or preaching disobedience to established law and its institutions is also an unlawful activity, it said.

The unlawful organisation is the one which indulges in or bets or assists, gives aid, encourages directly or indirectly any unlawful activity.

Association with an unlawful organisation will see a jail term from three to seven years and a fine of Rs 3 to Rs 5 lakh.

An advisory board will decide whether or not there is sufficient cause for declaring an organisation as unlawful. It will submit a report to the government in three months.

All offences under this act will be cognisable and non-bailable. The offences will be investigated by a police officer not below the rank of a sub-inspector, the bill said.

All offences shall be registered under the written permission by an officer not below the rank of deputy inspector general of police who shall also specify the investigating officer who shall investigate the case.

No court shall take cognisance of any offence except on the report of an officer not below the rank of additional DGP.

Deputy CM Fadnavis, who holds the home portfolio, said the menace of Naxalism is not limited to remote rural areas, but its presence is increasing in urban areas through Naxal frontal organisations.

"The spread of active frontal organisations of Naxal groups gives constant and effective support in terms of logistics and safe refugee to its armed cadre. The seized literature of Naxals shows safe houses and urban dens of Maoist network in cities of Maharashtra," he said.

The unlawful activities of such frontal organisations need to be controlled through effective legal means, he said. PTI MR NP

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