NEW DELHI: The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed a bill that empowers the government to designate individuals as terrorists. Replying to a debate on the Unlawful Activities Prevention (Amendment) Bill, Home Minister Amit Shah said the government has zero-tolerance on terrorism and has no sympathy for ‘urban Maoists’.
Defending the amendments, Shah said these are needed to meet the evolving challenges in combating terror activities. He pointed out that it is not enough to designate organisations as terrorist outfits because they will simply change their name and continue with nefarious activities.
“We need to designate individuals who are found to be involved in terror activities as terrorists,” Shah stated. He assured the House that the government has no intention to misuse the provisions. Responding to a question by NCP MP Supriya Sule, who had argued social activists should not be dragged into the purview of the Bill, Shah said social workers need not be terrorists.
“We don’t have the least sensitivity for urban Maoisim. Their so-called ideological movement has led to the killings of thousands of people in the country. They have misguided illiterate people in taking up arms (against State),” he added.
The minister explained that the sole purpose is to give teeth to the NIA. The amendments include provision for remand of 30 days in place of the current 14 days for the accused. Trinamool MP Mahua Moitra argued that one who is anti-government shouldn’t be branded anti-national. Shah, however, refuted the claims of the Opposition MPs, saying that the government only wants to ensure that the NIA is not toothless. “It will never be used for political purposes and it should never be used so by any governments,” Shah said.