New Delhi: Minister of State (Mos) for Home G Kishan Reddy said on Tuesday that the BJP-led government has given a free hand to security forces to deal with terrorism and as result of which there has been a significant drop in cases in the hinterland.
Moving the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019, for passage in the Lok Sabha, he said the government intends to take tougher action against terrorism in the coming days. The bill empowers the government to designate individuals as terrorists and empowers the Director-General, National Investigation Agency (NIA) to grant approval of seizure or attachment of property when the case is investigated by the agency.
The minister said there was 60 per cent drop in attacks in the northeast. He said state-sponsored terrorism by Pakistan, especially, in Jammu and Kashmir has been dealt with firmly and effectively and a large number of terrorists have been killed in the state. "In the last few years, terrorist-initiated incidents have been reduced where more terrorists have been killed in the first six months of 2019 as compared to the last year," he said. The minister said that the amendments in the bill will help the government deal more effectively with terrorism.
Initiating the debate on the bill, Congress member Manish Tewari said that it was wrong to assume that strong laws were the solution to all problems. He said that the bill has provisions, which can grossly be misused. Tewari said the conviction under TADA was only 1.11 per cent and of 1,031 persons arrested under POTA, 13 were convicted. Tewari refuted allegations of Home Minister Amit Shah that POTA was repealed for political reasons. He said the NDA government headed by Atal Behari Vajpayee had itself formed a review committee over allegations of its misuse. He said the provisions of POTA law needed to fight terrorism were included in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act and those which were being misused were left out.
Participating in the debate, BJP member Meenakshi Lekhi said that the bill had been brought to remove lacunas in the law left by the UPA government. The Bill adds International Convention for Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism to the treaties listed in the schedule of the Act. It also empowers the officers of the NIA, of the rank of Inspector or above, to investigate cases. The Act provides that investigation of cases may be conducted by officers of the rank of Deputy Superintendent or Assistant Commissioner of Police or above.