Home Government and Policy The anti-terror UAPA Amendment Bill 2019 passed in Rajya Sabha as Home Minister Amit Shah leads the charge

The anti-terror UAPA Amendment Bill 2019 passed in Rajya Sabha as Home Minister Amit Shah leads the charge

After the motion to send the bill to Select Committee was turned down, the bill was passed in the upper house of the parliament.

In a rebuttal against the apprehensions raised by Congress on the amendments suggested by the BJP government in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), Home Minister Amit Shah took charge in Rajya Sabha asserting that the procedures enlisted in his government’s proposed amendments to UAPA Act are elaborate and they do not discriminate the individuals based on their identity.

After the motion to send the bill to Select Committee was turned down, the bill was passed in the upper house of the parliament. Upon receiving the President’s assent, the bill will become a law as it was already passed by the lower house of the parliament.

Earlier Congress leader P Chidambaram had opposed amendments to the UAPA act claiming that the reasons for the amendments tendered by the BJP are dubious. Former home minister Chidambaram asserted that though the reasons for amendments says ‘to empower NIA’ but in reality, it would empower the Centre to add or remove an individual’s name. Chidamabaram opposed the designation of individuals as terrorists and claimed that the banning of terror organisations was sufficient.

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Another Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, known for being the earliest proponent of ‘Hindu terror’ bogey, appeared to cast aspersions on the intent of the government. Singh further alleged that BJP had compromised on terror, first in the Rubaiya Saeed case and then by releasing Masood Azhar during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s time.

Rubaiya Saeed, former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s sister was kidnapped by Kashmiri separatist Yasin Malik on 8th December, 1989. Her father Mufti Mohammad Saeed was former Home Minister. JKLF terorists were behind the kidnapping. They had demanded the release of five of their terrorists who were in prison. After 15 days of negotiations, media frenzy and drama, the five terrorists were released by the then Indian government in exchange of Rubaiya’s freedom. The five terrorists released by the then VP Singh government were Abdul hamid Shekh, a Pakistani terorist Sher Khan, Noor Mohammad Kalwal, Altaf Ahemed and Javed Ahemed Jargar.

Singh went a step further in asserting that the Home Minister Amit Shah is using state agencies to target rivals and he is not acting like an HM but as BJP President.

Responding to the allegations levelled by Congress leaders, Amit Shah recounted how the BJP had supported the UAPA act and all the three amendments to it which came in 2004, 2008 and 2013 under Congress regime. Answering to P Chidambaram, Shah said, “We propose to designate individuals as terrorists because when terror organisations are banned, these individuals who form the terror groups, form another organisation. Till when are we going to keep banning terror organisations?”

Shah then addressed Digvijaya Singh’s concerns stating that the Congress leader is angry because he lost the elections. Shah continued saying Congress misused the laws during the Emergency but they have the temerity to accuse others of vendetta. Taking a swipe at Singh, Shah said, “NIA didn’t punish anyone in the 3 cases because in earlier cases during Congress regime, concerted attempts were made to link a particular religion to terror.”

Following the heated discussion, the motion to send the UAPA bill to the Select Committee was turned down as Nos scored 104 and Ayes were just 85. The bill went for voting it finally got passed in the Rajya Sabha. The bill was already passed in the Lok Sabha.

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