UAPA bill: Rajya Sabha passes Unlawful Activities (Prevention), Amendment Bill, 2019

New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha, on Friday passed the Unlawful Activities (Prevention), Amendment Bill, 2019 with 147 votes against 42. Earlier, Home Minister Amit Shah defended the bill amid criticism by the Congress party which objected to the amendment in the bill. Shah said that acts of terror are committed by ‘individuals’ who continue to use loopholes in the law to carry out unlawful activities. The motion to refer the bill to Select Committee was rejected by the House with 104 against 85 votes.

Shah also accused Congress of misusing agencies and said that the democracy was sabotaged for political gain. “What happened during the Emergency? All media was banned, all opposition leaders were jailed. There was no democracy for 19 months, and you are accusing us of misusing laws? Kindly look at your past,” he said.

Speaking against the bill, Congress leader P Chidambaram said, “If you see reasons for the amendment, it says ‘to empower NIA’. In passing you say ’empowers Centre to add or remove an individual’s name as a terrorist’, this mischief is why we are opposing this amendment, we are not opposing Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.”

“In 2008 when I took over as Home Minister, I said anti-terrorism will stand on three legs- one is NIA, one is NATGRID and one is NCTC. We have only one leg today, what have you done about NATGRID and NCTC? Why are they in limbo?”Chidambaram said.

Digvijaya Singh said that he ‘doubted’ BJP’s intention in bringing the bill. “We doubt their(BJP) intent. Congress never compromised on terrorism that is why we had brought this law. It is you who compromised on terror, once during the release of Rubaiya Saeed ji and second by letting off Masood Azhar,” Singh said.

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