Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which criminalises sedition, should be repealed because provisions under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) are sufficient to deal with offences against the nation and national security, the Member of Rajya Sabha and Chief of Nationalist Congress Party Sharad Pawar told Bhima Koregaon Inquiry Commission on Wednesday. .The commission is probing the violent clashes between the Dalit and Maratha groups on December 31, 2017 around the time of the Elgar Parishad event.Section 124A stipulates that whoever by words or speech bring or attempts to bring hatred or contempt towards the established government shall be punished with imprisonment upto life. It is a non-bailable offence. .In an additional affidavit filed on Wednesday, Pawar said that Section 124A which deals with the offence of sedition was inserted by the British in 1870 to control uprisings against them and to suppress the freedom movement.The same is now being misused against people who criticize the government suppressing their liberty and voice of dissent.“In recent times, this section is often misused against people who criticize the government suppressing their liberty and tend to stifle any voice of dissent raised in a peaceful and democratic way. Hence, it is proposed that the misuse of Section 124A of IPC should be stopped with amendments or the said section should be repealed. I have a reason to say so because provisions of IPC and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act are sufficient for protecting the national integrity,” Pawar submitted. .Pawar stated in his affidavit that he had no personal knowledge or information about the sequence of events leading to the riots which took place in 2018.“I have no allegation to make against any political agenda or motive behind search unfortunately incident. It is only an attempt to assist the Commission to the best of my ability and knowledge owing to my long experience in public life,” the affidavit said. .In this backdrop, Pawar suggested that the role of electronic, print and digital media is of important essence in a vibrant democracy and that media could be utilised in avoiding riot like situations.“That from responsible media professionals, the first hand information can be gathered regarding any unlawful assembly and intention of such unlawful assembly or mob can be known to such law enforcement to take preemptive action and control / deter riot like situations. …responsible media can even play a role as a bridge of communication between protestors and govt / police authorities and also the buffer to ease the tensions and avoid any misinformation”, the affidavit said.He suggested that law enforcing and intelligence authorities should be trained professionally to deal with ‘media intelligence’ to ensure better co-ordination between executive and media..Apart from these suggestions, Pawar also batted for changes to certain provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure which according to him is required to empower further the police and executive magistrates to control and deter riot like situations and maintain law and order.“The police and executive magistrates in such situations need to be insulated from any political interference from State or Central government”, Pawar emphasized..Pawar has been summoned by the Commission to appear before it in the first week of May, 2022, in Mumbai where Advocate Ashish Satpute, counsel appearing on behalf of the Commission would examine him..On December 31, 2017, a group of persons including activists and retired Supreme Court judge Justice PB Sawant and retired Bombay High Court judge Justice BG Kolse-Patil had come together for the Elgar Parishad event in Pune (city region).The event marked the 200th anniversary of the victory of Dalit soldiers in a battle against a local Brahmin Peshwa ruler, which was commemorated by the Dalit groups who gathered in the memorial located in the Koregaon Bhima region in the rural outskirts of Pune district, Maharashtra.However, violent clashes erupted between Dalit and Maratha groups at Koregaon Bhima.Later, many activists were arrested for the same and are being tried for offence of sedition and UAPA charges.