The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed the Unlawful Activities Prevention (Amendment) Bill with 284 votes in its favour and eight against it after the opposition walked out in protest.
If the anti-terror law is cleared by the Parliament, it will give the government the power to designate individuals suspected to have terror links as “terrorists”.
Defending the amendments, Home Minister Amit Shah said, “There’s a need for a provision to declare an individual as a terrorist. The UN has a procedure for it, the US has it, Pakistan has it, China has it, Israel has it, the European Union has it, everyone has done it”.
He further said the provision in UAPA Bill to designate a person suspected to have terror links as a “terrorist” was necessary to root out terror. “This government’s primary aim is to wipe out terrorism.”
Meanwhile, the Congress MPs demanded that the bill be sent to a Standing Committee for further discussion and scrutiny.
On this, Amit Shah retorted that even if the review committee rejects it, there is a provision to approach the Supreme Court.
He also accused the Congress of double standards on the Unlawful Activities Prevention (Amendment) Bill.
“When you question us, you don’t see who brought the law and amendments, who made it stringent. It was brought when you were in power, what you did then was right and what I’m doing now is also right,” Shah said.
“This legislation was brought by the UPA government and not by us. They are now accusing us of diluting it,” he added.
However, the Home Minister said that “there are enough safeguards in the bill to ensure that the law is not misused”.
Further on, Amit Shah in an indirect attack on the Congress said, “In the name of ideology, some people promote urban Maoism. We don’t have any sympathy for the urban Maoists. We will act strongly against them.”
Amendments to UAPA will keep anti-terror agencies two steps ahead of terrorists, he said.
Earlier during the debate, AIMIM Lok Sabha MP Asaduddin Owaisi said he blames the Congress for the amendment bill.
“I blame Congress party for this. They’re the main culprits for bringing this law. When they’re in power they’re bigger than BJP, when they lose power they become big brother of Muslims,” he said.
The TMC also objected to the amendment bill saying the law could be misused to target individuals.
“If the Centre wants to target someone, they will get them somehow with the help of some law. Opposition leaders, minorities, rights activists and others, if they disagree with the homogenous idea of India that this government is trying to thrust upon us, the opposition runs the risk of being labelled as anti-national,” TMC leader Mahua Moitra said.