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Opposition raises concerns over misuse of anti-terror Bill

File photo: Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy. Photograph:( ANI )

ANI New Delhi Aug 02, 2019, 08.54 AM (IST)

The Opposition on Thursday raised concerns over the "misuse" of The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019, that seeks to designate an individual as a terrorist. 

Minister of State for Home, G Kishan Reddy, who tabled the Bill in Rajya Sabha days after it was approved by the Lower House, however, rejected their apprehensions, saying the amendments have been brought in to designate people like Hafiz Saeed, Masood Azhar and Dawood Ibrahim as terrorists.

"The Prime Minister went to foreign countries seeking support to designate Masood Azhar as an international terrorist. The amendments are to designate such individuals as terrorists," Reddy said during the debate. 

He slammed the Congress for questioning the government`s intentions and reminded that it was the Congress which declared several outfits as terrorist organisations. 

"As many as 34 outfits were declared terror organisations. Individual designations will be made under the law you made in 1967," he said inviting vociferous protests from the Congress.

The minister`s remarks came after several Opposition members including from the Congress, Samajwadi Party, Trinamool Congress and MDMK opposed the Bill and raised concerns about the misuse of the "draconian" provisions in the Bill.

Congress`s Kapil Sibal requested the Home Minister to agree with the proposal of referring the Bill to the Select Committee and added that if he disagrees, he will oppose the Bill. 

He said the existing provisions under law have ample space to prosecute anyone who supports terror asserting that the percentage of acquittals in terror cases are huge and convictions are very low.

"The House should think how long should innocent people remain in jail as under trials. While fighting terror, we should also know what is happening on the ground," he said.

Story highlights

Minister of State for Home, G Kishan Reddy, who tabled the Bill in Rajya Sabha days after it was approved by the Lower House, however, rejected their apprehensions, saying the amendments have been brought in to designate people like Hafiz Saeed, Masood Azhar and Dawood Ibrahim as terrorists.