New Delhi, Aug 2 : The Unlawful Activities Prevention Activities (Amendment) Bill, 2019 on Friday got Parliament’s nod after the Rajya Sabha passed it with division of votes.
This Bill has been already passed by the Lok Sabha on July 24. The UAPA (Amendment) Bill was passed with 147 votes in favour and 42 votes against it. The Upper House also negated the Opposition‘s amendment for sending it to select committee with 104 votes to 85.
Replying to the debate on UAPA (Amendment) Bill, the Home Minister Amit Shah said that questions were raised during the discussion by Members regarding naming ‘individual’ as terrorist. He said “When an organisation is declared as a terrorist organisation, they close that and move to open a new organization. By the time we clamp that down, a new one opened.This becomes very difficult for investigation agencies to nab the mastermind”.
Citing the example of Yasin Bhatkal, he said the law would have helped Kolkata Police to keep him behind the bars when he was caught in 2009. "It is the person who indulges in terror activities. Terrorism is an issue world-over. USA, China, Pakistan, Israel, EU and UN all declare people as terrorists," he added.
He reiterates that the law will not be misused. There are clear procedures laid down on how to declare a person a terrorist and an adequate safeguards mechanism have been incorporated to protect innocents. "So many amendments have been made by the Congress Government in past, then they did not have any problems. But now, suddenly everyone in that party has started opposing it? Whichever Government brings stringent laws against terrorism should be supported because it is for the benefit of humanity," Mr Shah said.
The Home Minister said that the State police and NIA can use this Bill and assured the House that both will use it judiciously.
Earlier, discussing the Bill, Congress Member P Chidambaram said that he and his party accepts most provisions of the Bill, and was opposing only two provisions that were clauses five and six. He asked at what stage a person will be declared as a terrorist. Responding to it, Mr Shah responded that the state will take into account circumstantial evidence and how well the person cooperates with investigation.
Lawmaker Anand Sharma asked the Minister did the Government intend to separate the prosecution and investigation agencies or not, The Home Minister said that since this matter was related to policy, hence, he would only answer the questions related to this Bill.
Opposing the 'anti-terror' Bill, Congress leader Digvijay Singh said this Bill should be sent to select committee for wider consultation.
“We are not against of terrorism but we doubt your intention, your ideology is of dividing the society, so we oppose this Bill”, Mr Singh said.
"After your government came to power, the functioning of NIA has changed. Ajmer Dargah bombing, Mecca Masjid blast case, Samjhauta Express blast case - so many accused have been left off in these cases. Why did the NIA not appeal? If defence and prosecution become one, is that right?," he asked the Government. "You people have always created an illusion that a particular community is full of terrorists. But is that the reality? he asked the Minister. (UNI)