Parliament Approves Amendments To UAPA Bill To Label Individuals As Terrorists
Union Home Minister Amit Shah said the UAPA Bill, which will be used only to tackle terror, will help the NIA remain four steps ahead of terrorists. (Photo: PTI)

Parliament Approves Amendments To UAPA Bill To Label Individuals As Terrorists

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The Parliament on Friday approved the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill that allows the National Investigation Agency to designate individuals as terrorists and seize their properties.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah said the UAPA Bill, which will be used only to tackle terror, will help agencies remain four steps ahead of terrorists.

He also accused Congress of giving colour to the law by linking terrorism to religion for political gains. The Congress misused the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, to frame people linked to a particular religion, he said. The home minister was speaking in the context of Samjhauta Express blast and Mecca Masjid cases, where the accused have been acquitted by court.

The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill that seeks to amend the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, was passed by the Rajya Sabha with 147 votes in favour and 42 against. The Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party supported the bill.

The Upper House earlier rejected the opposition-sponsored motion to send the amendment to a Selection Committee with 104 votes against and 85 in favour. The Congress had also voted in favour of this motion.

The Lok Sabha had passed the UAPA Bill on July 24.

The UAPA Bill is the third legislation that has been cleared by the Rajya Sabha in this parliamentary session, the other two are the RTI Amendment Bill and the Triple Talaq Bill. The Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance is not in the majority in the Upper House.

While replying to the debate on the UAPA Bill, Shah said it is important to identify individuals as terrorists and not just organisations as terror outfits. The government so far had powers to designate groups or organisations as terror-linked.

"What happened during the Emergency? All the media was banned, all the opposition leaders were jailed. There was no democracy for 19 months, and you are accusing us of misusing laws? Kindly look at your own past," Shah said, targeting the Congress.

Responding to opposition concerns over the UAPA Bill being misused, he assured no person's human rights will be violated. A four-stage scrutiny with provision for appeals has been prescribed when individuals are declared terrorists.

“Terrorism has no religion, terrorists are against humanity," he said, seeking support of all parties for the UAPA Amendment Bill.

The home minister appealed to the Rajya Sabha to pass the bill unanimously to send a strong message to the world that terrorists are the enemies of humanity and that India is committed to finish terrorism on its soil.

Terrorism, Shah said, is a global problem and the United Nations and several other countries, including the U.S., European Union, China, Pakistan and Israel, have provisions in their laws to designate individuals as terrorists.

Also read: Parliament Approves Wage Code Bill To Bring In Minimum Wages In India

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