New Delhi: A report by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has revealed that the total number of sedition cases registered across the country doubled from 35 in 2016 to 70 in 2018. Topping the list was Jharkhand, with 18 sedition cases being registered between 2016-18.
The development comes amid the state’s recently-elected new government, under Chief Minister Hemant Soren, withdrawing charges of sedition against 3,000 people over a recent anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protest in Dhanbad.
In fact, the very first decision that the state government took was to revoke sedition cases slapped in connection with the Pathalgadi movement, by the erstwhile BJP government last November.
According to the NCRB data, Assam registered the second-highest number of sedition cases with 27 individuals being booked in seven cases. Jammu and Kashmir, which was last year split into two union territories, was next with 12 cases, followed by Kerala (nine) and Manipur (four).
A total of 51 sedition cases were filed in 2017.
Additionally, the data also showed a rise in cases being filed under local laws like the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and the Official Secrets Act (OSA). While the number those booked under UAPA rose from 901 in 2017 to 1,182 in 2018, that of those booked under OSA increased from 18 in 2017 to 40 a year later.
Under UAPA, the highest number of offences was registered by Assam (308) followed by Manipur (289), J&K (245) and Jharkhand (137). Under OSA, meanwhile, Maharashtra registered the highest number of cases (16), followed by UP (seven) and Punjab (five).
The 2018 report of the NCRB was delayed by at least six months after the 2017 edition was stalled by more than a year on the various grounds.