The Indian Express

Bihar police Bill: Top officials defend government on new law; Opposition targets police over use of force

While the RJD-led Opposition continued to attack the Nitish Kumar government over the “draconian” Bihar Special Armed Police Bill, 2021, Bihar DGP S K Singhal and Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Chaitanya Prasad defended the government saying the legislation will have a “limited role” as it will “only be applicable” to airports, historical sites and vital installations.

The Bill seeks to convert the existing Bihar Military Police (BMO) into a special armed force on the lines of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).

At a press conference on Thursday, the Bihar DGP, flanked by the Additional Chief Secretary (Home) and Bihar Military Police DG R S Bhatti, said the proposed law has made it clear that if anyone is arrested by the special force, he or she would be immediately handed over to the district police which will have powers to investigate as usual.

Chaitanya Prasad said the new force will be stationed at Gaya and Darbhanga airports.

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Earlier, Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Prasad Yadav said the legislators’ protest against the “draconian” law was not unprecedented. “What was unprecedented was the brutal and shameless manner the police used its power to get its own Bill passed… The CM has been decrying Opposition protests. Let me remind him that Karpoori Thakur as Leader of Opposition in 1986 had protested for three days and even slept outside the Assembly in protest against a Bill brought by the then Congress government, which did not resort to police excess against the Opposition as the Nitish Kumar government did against us”.

RJD’s Ramgarh MLA Sudharkar Singh, one of the 12 legislators dragged and marshalled out, told The Indian Express, “We wanted the Bill to be sent to select committee… but the government got it passed bypassing an Opposition that has 110 MLAs against the government’s 127.” Singh demanded the scrapping of Section 7 of the proposed law that gives powers of arrest without warrant and magistrate’s permission. “We also want scrapping of Section 15 that says a court cannot take cognisance if a special armed police officer is involved in a serious case barring some exceptions.”

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