A day after the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) Amendment Bill, 2019 was tabled in the Rajya Sabha, the Congress and the BJP leaders were seen take sharp swipe at each other. Even as former Union Minister P Chidambaram said that the Congress is opposing the Bill as activists can’t be compared to terrorists, Union Home Minister Amit Shah hit back with the ‘Emergency’ jibe. Defending the Bill, Shah said that uprooting terrorism our priority. “Chidambaram ji asked why to name an individual as a terrorist when the organization they are affiliated to is already banned. It is because we ban one organisation, another one comes up by same individuals. Till when will we keep banning organisation?.”
"I have only brought an amendment, I didn't bring the law. We can only be one step ahead of the terrorists if we keep bringing in reforms. All the previous amendments had been brought in by the Congress. The moment they went to the other side, they change their perspective, why is that," Shah added.
Last month, moving the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019 in the Lok Sabha, MoS Home Kishan Reddy had said that "this government was working against terrorism with zero tolerance." The minister said between 2004-14, a little over 40 incidents of "inter-land terrorism" took place. In these incidents, 883 people were killed. However, from 2014-19, four incidents of inter-land terrorism took place in which 91 people were killed. Of these four, three were Pakistan sponsored, he said.
The Bill seeks to allow an individual suspected to have terror links to be designated as a 'terrorist'. Stating that the entire world, including the big nations, were victims of terrorism, the minister said the steps taken by the government have resulted in decline in terrorism.
In order to put a check on terrorism, he said, "we have given a free hand to the security forces" and added that the in the north eastern states in the last five years there has been a decline in the insurgency related incidents. Due to the sustained effort of the government, the minister said, the situation has improved in the left-wing extremism affected states.
The Bill amends the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. Under the Act, an investigating officer is required to obtain the prior approval of the director general of police (DGP) to seize properties that may be connected with terrorism. The Bill adds that if the investigation is conducted by an officer of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the approval of the director general of NIA would be required for seizure of such property.