The Gujarat State Assembly passed the Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime Bill 2015 (GCTOC), on March 31, 2015. The bill retains the essential draconian provisions of an earlier bill, named the Gujarat Control of Organised Crime (GUJCOC) Bill.
The bill puts the onus of proving innocence on the accused and makes confessions made before the police as well as telephone conversations tapped by the police admissible as evidence in court. It allows a suspect to be held in police custody for 30 days, instead of 15 as at present, and extends the time limit for filing a charge sheet to 180 days from 90. Offences under this bill are 'non bailable'.
The Bill is along the lines of the draconian TADA and POTA acts, under which tens of thousands of innocent people were incarcerated, and which were repealed after many years of public protest and struggle. The bill was passed in the Gujarat Assembly unanimously with the Congress Party MLAs walking out.
Particularly since the Godhra tragedy and the subsequent brutal state organized slaughter of people of Muslim faith all over Gujarat in February – March 2002, state terror against people has been raised to new levels in the state. The target of this terror is the working class and peasantry fighting for their rights, political and social activists organising the toiling masses, and all those fighting communal and fascist terror unleashed by the ruling class.
It is the standard practice of the ruling class to criminalise and discredit the resistance by invoking a threat to the state and society from some “dark forces”. This is what all fascist laws have been used for in the past, and this is the purpose of this new Gujarat bill as well.
Justifying the bill, the spokesperson for the state government has cited "evidence of organized crime syndicates" and "threat from across the Pakistan border" as reasons for the urgency in passing this bill.
It must be noted that three times in the past 12 years, the Gujarat government has tried to pass a similar act. Each time, the opposition of democratic opinion across the country forced the then Central governments to advise the President of the day to refuse to approve the bill.
Governments at the Centre, both under the Congress Party and the BJP, have used fascist laws to crush the peoples' struggles and to criminalise all forms of dissent. TADA and POTA were used to even attack striking workers in factories and student protests. These laws have also been used to put down the political opposition to the party in power at the centre. The UAPA, which has replaced POTA, has retained all its essentials provisions.
In addition, several states have also introduced their own fascist laws, such as the Chhattisgarh Public Safety Act, the MCOCA and now the GCTOC. All of them have similar provisions. These laws are meant to suppress the struggles of the workers, peasants, tribals, youth and women, in the specific conditions of the state, in order to suit the interests of the big capitalist monopoly houses, as well as to put down the political opponentsof the ruling party.
The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) has been imposed on the northeastern states as well as Kashmir, which are virtually under army rule. Under this fascist law, the armed forces have the powers to arrest, shoot and kill people on grounds of mere suspicion, to eliminate people in fake encounters, to rape and kill women, etc. They enjoy complete immunity for these horrendous crimes against the people.
All these draconian laws are part of the arsenal of state terrorism of the ruling bourgeois class. State terrorism is the standard method by which the bourgeoisie and its state rule over the masses of workers, peasants and all the working people, to crush and criminalise all forms of dissent, in order to advance the interests of the biggest monopoly capitalists.
CGPI condemns the passing of the GCTOC 2015 bill. It calls on allsections of the people to unite and step up the struggle against all forms of state terrorism, state organised terror and violence.