The ban on the ISIS by the Indian Government has been welcomed by all the agencies battling the menace of this dreaded terrorist group. The ban on the ISIS all these days was based on the one issued by the United Nations.
However with India specifically banning the outfit action against ISIS recruits or sympathizers can be much stronger since the decision has been effected under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act of 1967 or the UAPA.
What is the UAPA and how does it help the agencies tackle the menace of the ISIS better? We provide an explainer to the act.
How does a ban under UAPA help
Banning a group under the UAPA gives the agencies a broader scope to deal with the case. Take the case of Mehdi Masroor Biswas or of Areef Majeed. The agencies were finding it extremely difficult to deal with these cases.
The problem here was that these persons had not committed any offence in India. It became very
difficult to proceed with a case in the absence of a ban under the UAPA.
Now if any person is found to be associating with the ISIS or even being sympathetic to the outfit, he or she can be punished. In recent cases people trying to join the ISIS were let off. There were incidents of people waving ISIS flags and even posing with T-shirts of the group.
All these persons were let off because for the want of a specific ban. Now with the ban enforced under the UAPA, all such cases become punishable.
Association with ISIS is punishable
Groups such as the Indian Mujahideen and the Students Islamic Movement of India too have been banned under this act. Under this act an association in any way with a terrorist group falling under the ambit of this act is punishable.
Under this act if a person associating with a banned outfit can be punished. It states that committing to the group either by action, words either spoken or written and even by signs and visible representation can be punishable.
Under this act it becomes mandatory that a tribunal is constituted. From the date of the ban being issued through a Gazette notification, the government shall within 30 days refer the notification to the Tribunal for the purpose of adjudicating whether or not there is sufficient cause for declaring the association unlawful.
The Tribunal would then call upon the association affected by notice in writing to show cause, within thirty days why the association should not be declared unlawful.
An unlawful association
When a terrorist group has been banned under the UAPA, the government can take into its possession any money, security or credits which are being used by the group.
The assets can be taken into custody even if the government feels that the it is intended to be used by the group. This is the part of the act which helps the agencies deal with the financing aspect of the terrorist group.
Notifying places used by terrorist groups
The Central Government can through notification in the Official Gazette, notify any place which in its opinion is used for the purpose of such unlawful association. A house or building or even land used for an unlawful association by the banned terrorist group can also be notified by the government.
Once such a notification is issued, the district magistrate of the area would need to make a list of all the property being used. On issuance of such a notification any activity in the place notified shall be prohibited.
Any person entering the property notified by the District Magistrate shall be detained and then arrested. A person wanting to enter the property will have to file an application with the authorities.
Punishment prescribed as per the act
Whoever is and continues to be a member of an association declared unlawful or takes part in meetings of any such unlawful association, or contributes to, or receives or solicits any contribution for the purpose of, any such un- lawful association, or in any way assists the operations of any such unlawful association, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, and shall also be liable to fine.
If any person is found paying money to a group declared unlawful by the government then he or she shall face imprisonment up to three years. If a person is found to be entering a property declared as unlawful he shall be punished with imprisonment up to one year.
Any person who is found to be part of the group that is banned by the government of India will face imprisonment up to five years.