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3-min read

Lok Sabha Passes Bill to Designate Suspects as Terrorists as Congress, TMC Boycott Proceedings

Responding to a debate in the Lok Sabha on a bill seeking to amend the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, Home Minister Amit Shah asserted anti-terror laws would not be misused and used only to root out terrorism.

PTI

Updated:July 24, 2019, 11:18 PM IST
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Lok Sabha Passes Bill to Designate Suspects as Terrorists as Congress, TMC Boycott Proceedings
Union Home Minister Amit Shah speaks in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday. (PTI)
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New Delhi: Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday defended amendments to an anti-terror law, saying they are was essential to keep law enforcement agencies one step ahead of terrorists.

Responding to a debate in the Lok Sabha on a bill seeking to amend the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, he asserted anti-terror laws would not be misused and used only to root out terrorism.

The Congress and TMC boycotted the proceedings ahead of voting on the bill. "What can we do we, if you are boycotting the proceedings as you are angry over vote bank," Shah said.

The Home Minister said the provision in UAPA (Amendment) bill, which was later passed in the Lower House by a voice vote, to designate a person suspected to have terror links as terrorist is necessary to root out terror.

Hitting out at the Congress for opposing the amendment, he said if the UPA was correct in amending anti-terror laws in its tenure, then so is the NDA. He said, in the name of ideology, some people promote urban Maoism and the government has no sympathy towards them.

The government fights terrorism and it should not matter which party is in power, Shah said, referring to amendments made in anti-terror laws by successive governments.

During a division of votes, demanded by AIMIM's Asaduddin Owaisi for consideration of the bill, as many as 287 MPs supported it and only eight opposed it.

Amendments brought in by some opposition members were also defeated by huge numbers during division of votes. When the AIMIM member insisted on division of votes over

amendments, Speaker Om Birla quoted rule to say that he can ask the members supporting or opposing them to stand up for counting, if he feels it appropriate.

In his speech, Shah lashed out at people behind urban Maoism, a term used by the BJP and its ideological allies for those it blames for supporting Maoists, and said the government had no sympathy for them.

"In the name of ideology, some people promote urban Maoism. We have no sympathy for them," he said. Left wing violence was initially considered an ideological and gullible people were misguided to kill others, he said.

"The only purpose of this law is to root out terrorism. We will ensure that this law will not be misused," he said.

The Congress under the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had brought in UAPA, he said, targeting the opposition party, whose members earlier questioned the rationale behind the law.

Radical preachers are propagating ideology of hate and terrorism, Shah said, claiming that terrorism is born out of a person's mindset and is not about institutions.

"It is the priority of the government to root out terrorism," he said. "Some (opposition) members said that we have destroyed the federal structure by bringing this amendment. If the federal structure has been destroyed then it was destroyed during the UPA time as the law was enacted then," he said.

If somebody indulges in terrorist activities then definitely the NIA will seize his computers and other devices, he added.

Speaking on the bill, Karti Chidambaram (Congress) accused the government of destroying the federal structure and individual liberty by the UAPA (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

Chidambaram said he wondered whether such a stringent law would have prevented Pathankot or Pulwama attack. The Congress MP expressed the fear that future governments can misuse the amended law. He said the BJP will not be remain in power forever and 'the boot can always be on the other foot.

Satya Pal Singh (BJP) said to deal with terrorism, we need different kind of laws. Singh said the vote bank politics has prevented the previous governments from bringing strong anti-terror laws.

"The opposition accepts that the terrorism is a global problem, but it does not accept that it is a national problem," he said.

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