Islamic Terrorism in India

Most Muslims are not terrorists, but most terrorists are Muslims

Lok Sabha passes central terror agency bills – National Investigating Agency Bill and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention)

Posted by jagoindia on December 17, 2008

Lok Sabha passes central terror agency bills
Dec 17, 2008

LS passed National Investigating Agency Bill and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill.

New Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed two bills providing for establishment of a National Investigating Agency (NIA) and deterrent provisions to fight Terror with the Government asserting that it has tried to balance the requirements of law, prosecution and investigating agency and those of fair trial and human rights.

The House passed the National Investigating Agency Bill, 2008 and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2008 by a voice vote after rejecting a CPI(M) member’s amendment, a day after it was introduced against the backdrop of the terror attacks in Mumbai.

Replying to the day-long debate on the two bills, which had by and large received the support of the entire house, Home Minister P Chidambaram sought to allay apprehensions of misuse of the new tough measures to deal with terrorism saying adequate safeguards have been incorporated.

“What we have done is to do more than adequate balance of requirements of investigating and prosecuting agency and the demands of human rights and the people of India for strong anti-terror laws,” he said piloting the bills.

He said the NIA would investigate offences under eight laws listed in its schedule and any acts that strike terror among people.

The Minister emphasised that the UAPA was very unlike POTA and that new measures should not be seen from the ‘communal prism’.

Seeking passage of the twin measures unanimously, he said, “let us demonstrate our unity of purpose by passing these bills unanimously.”

Double-barrel strike on terror
Guilt onus on suspect in bill
OUR BUREAU, The Telegraph, Calcutta

New Delhi, Dec. 16: Suspects whose fingerprints are found at the site of a terror attack will be presumed guilty till proved innocent under new anti-terror laws tabled today and expected to sail through Parliament.

The presumption of guilt will apply also if weapons, explosives or vehicles used in a terror attack are seized from a person, or his fingerprints are found on them, says the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2008, introduced with the National Investigation Agency Bill in the Lok Sabha.

This means the accused has the burden of proving himself innocent in contrast with ordinary cases where the prosecution must prove the accused guilty.

Also, under the proposed laws, terror suspects can be detained without bail for up to 180 days instead of 90, and no accused can get bail without the prosecution being heard.

Bail can be denied if the court feels the charges against the accused are prima facie (on the face of it) true. Foreigners entering the country illegally will not get bail at all.

The NIA bill, which looks to set up a federal agency to investigate terror in all its forms, will allow the Centre to call the shots in any dispute over jurisdiction with the states. This is done in three ways.

One, by redefining terror so that it covers Maoists and militants to hijackers and those who target nuclear installations. Two, by allowing the Centre to direct, on its own, the National Investigation Agency to probe a terror act as long as the crime lies within a certain scheduled list of acts.

And three, by empowering “any officer of the agency of or above the rank of sub-inspector… to exercise throughout India any of the powers of the officer-in-charge of a police station in the area in which he is present for the time being”.

In other words, if the Centre gives the orders, even a sub-inspector of the agency, based in Delhi, can take charge of a police station in Malda if a case is being investigated in Bengal.

A terrorist act is now defined as one that intends to, or is likely to, threaten the unity, integrity, security or sovereignty of India or has been carried out with an “intent to strike terror or (is) likely to strike terror in the people or any section of the people in India or in any foreign country”.

The earlier definition focused more on the level of violence than the threat to national security.

Its scope now covers blasts as well as attacks with other explosives like dynamites and mines, or with lethal weapons or “poisonous or noxious gases or chemicals”, including biological, radio-active and nuclear substances. The definition includes hijacking of aircraft and ships.

The scheduled list of acts — offences under which will allow direct central intervention — includes the atomic energy act, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the anti-hijacking act, the Saarc convention on (suppression of) terrorism act, the suppression of unlawful acts against safety of maritime navigation, and the weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems (prohibition of unlawful activities) act.

The proposed laws provide for harsh prison terms and for special courts to try terror offences quickly.

Certain crimes covered under the Indian Penal Code have been included in the amendment bill, which will allow the Centre to freeze and attach the funds, assets and economic resources of terror suspects.

Although the bills will be debated in the Lok Sabha tomorrow, Congress sources said that given the countrywide clamour for the “toughest” action against terror, they would be passed easily. The BJP has pledged its support, and foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee has had discussions with Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party leaders.

The cabinet had cleared the bills yesterday but the government did not reveal details about them because Parliament was in session. That they were tabled within 24 hours of cabinet approval reflects the Centre’s eagerness to have the tough laws.

The bills will be taken up in the Rajya Sabha on Friday, sources in the parliamentary affairs ministry said.

Home minister P. Chidambaram justified the move to table the stringent UAP amendment bill after the National Democratic Alliance’s anti-terror law Pota was repealed because of misuse concerns.

He said the UAP act was being amended in the light of India’s commitment to fight terrorism and its commitment to the United Nations Security Council Resolution

2 Responses to “Lok Sabha passes central terror agency bills – National Investigating Agency Bill and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention)”

  1. Right step taken by a Lok sabha for establishment of NIA to investigate terror & fight against terror.

  2. […] 2008, Lok Sabha passes central terror agency bills, Available at:… [Accessed 15th Feb, […]

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