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Govt introduces ‘property damage’ bill in LA

Government on Monday introduced a contentious bill in the Legislative Assembly, envisaging that persons calling for strikes or protest demonstrations leading to damage of public property shall be held liable for fines and imprisonment.

The bill was introduced in the House by Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Abdur Rehman Veeri.

CPI (M) legislator and MLA Kulgam Muhammad Yousuf Tarigami called the bill “draconian and unproductive.”

The proposed legislation will replace an ordinance enacted by the Governor NN Vohra last year.

The proposed legislation has come under severe attack from rights groups and legal experts, arguing that it criminalizes “all modes of protest and dissent.”

According to the legislation, people calling for strikes and demonstrations — if they result in damage to public or private property — can be jailed for two to five years and fined a sum equivalent to the market value of the property damaged or destroyed.

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