The Lok Sabha on Wednesday night unanimously passed two bills – introduced by the UPA government in the wake of Mumbai terror attacks — for setting up of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and amending of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). But not before a heated debate that saw politics come into full play and after an assurance by Home Minister P Chidambaram that the government had not “copied” the infamous POTA or used it as a bench mark.
While the NIA bill was passed unanimously, the CPI(M)’s bid to seek changes in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill were nullified through a division and later adopted by the House.
Chidambaram said the government only tried to strike a “fair balance” with a respect for fundamental rights without compromising the ability of security and law enforcement agencies to tackle the menace of terrorism effectively.
Calling for eternal vigilance against terrorism, Chidambaram said, “we need it 24 x7. We cannot afford to lose guard. I have called a meeting of Chief Ministers on January 6 and also written to them to take specific steps.”
Leader of Opposition L K Advani set the tone by demanding that the Congress-led coalition should accept its “mistake” of not bringing such legislations earlier and alleged that the delay has "harmed" the country a lot.
Pressing for admissibility of confessions before police as evidence, Advani said the Congress had done a U-turn on the issue in the wake of the outrage caused by the Mumbai terror strikes and reminded the treasury benches that the BJP-led NDA had been a votary of strong anti-terror laws.
Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal said Advani must first apologise for the NDA government releasing Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar. “Had Azhar not been released, the attack on Parliament would not have taken place.”HT Correspondent