New Delhi, Aug 2: Raising apprehension over striking down of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) (Amendment) Bill, 2019 during judicial scrutiny, majority of the opposition members in Rajya Sabha on Friday asked the government to send it to select or standing committee.
In the proposed legislation, the government has brought two amendments that enable them to designate individuals as terrorists and empower the National Investigating Agency (NIA).
Initiating the debate on second day in the Upper House, CPI (M)'s Elamaram Kareem in his argument said, 'In the name of combating terrorism, the government is imposing state terrorism… It will lead to large scale harassment."
Citing previous law, including POTA and TADA, he added, 'We had bitter experience of these laws in past. Thousands of Muslims were arrested.'
'You don't want the opposition to speak against you," Mr Kareem said in a scathing statement. Opposing the bill, Rashtriya Janata Dal MP Manoj Jha called it a draconian bill.
'Branding someone as a terrorist is very easy, but we don't consider what their families go through,' he said. Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Wilson demanded that the bill be referred to a standing committee.
"The act doesn't state who is the officer in the Central government who will brand the person as a terrorist. The officer is not a judicial authority. The designation can happen arbitrarily," he added.
Presidential nominee to the Rajya Sabha Swapan Dasgupta expressed supported the Bill saying that the reforms in the legislation should be made so that the security forces are "one step ahead of the terrorists".
People Democratic Party lawmaker Mohammad Fayaz also asked for the bill be referred to select committee and said the misuse of such a bill affects the people of Jammu and Kashmir the most.
He cited the cases of the wrongful imprisonment of Mohammed Ali and Latif Ahmed who after spending 23 years in jail were let off after being declared innocent.
YSRCP's Vijaysai Reddy extended his support to the UAPA Bill, saying, “We support the vision of the Home Minister to make country terrorist-free.”
Bahujan Samaj Party's Satish Chandra Misra said, 'We request an assurance from the government and Home Minister that it will not be misused.'
'But a terrorist is a terrorist. We have no problem in the short amendment,' he added. (UNI)