oppn parties NIA Act Amendment Bill: Necessary To Counter New-Age Terrorism

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  • Flipkart assures employees that there will be no job or salary cuts due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Although it was obvious, but the government still clarifies that there is no need to switch off appliances and only lights need to be switched off on April 5 at 9pm after confusion in the minds of some people
  • PM Modi and President Trump decide "to deploy full strength of (Indo-US) partnership" to fight against COVID-19
  • 17 states have reported 1023 cases of coronavirus linked to the Tablighi Jamaat, which translates to 30% of all positive cases in India
  • The government says people should not use alcohol-based hand sanitizers before lighting diyas or candles on April 5
  • The railways say there is no certainty yet when services will resume after the lockdown and a final decision will be taken in the next few days
  • As coronavirus cases multiply in Assam, six north-east states seal their borders with the state
  • Power System Operation Corporation Ltd. (POCOSO) putting all systems and protocols in place at war-footing to ensure there is no grid failure due to reduction in demand on April 5 at 9 pm
  • Power ministry scotches rumours that the power grid might fail due to the 9-minute blackout called by PM Modi on Sunday, April 5
  • Centre asks people to wear home-made masks if it is absolutely essential for them to step out of homes
  • Centre asks states to allow licensed street vendors to sell essential items
  • 8000 samples were tested across India on April 2, but the government said that testing will be need-based and will not be used as a confidence-boosting measure
  • Air India operating special flights to fly passengers stuck in India since the lockdown
  • For the first time in history, Darjeeling loses first flush tea due to suspension of garden work for Covid-19 outbreak
  • Supreme Court asks journalists to be responsible and publish only the official version of news after it was brought to its notice that migrant exodus started after the 'fake' news that the lockdown will be extended to three months
Total count stands ar 3082 as India records 16 Covid-19 deaths, the highest in a single day
oppn parties
NIA Act Amendment Bill: Necessary To Counter New-Age Terrorism

By Linus Garg

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Linus tackles things head-on. He takes sides in his analysis and it fits excellently with our editorial policy. No 'maybe's' and 'allegedly' for him, only things in black and white.

The bill to amend the National Investigative Agency Act was passed by the Lok Sabha after a division vote. Normally, government bills do not necessitate a division but are passed by a voice vote. But since AIMIM MP Asaddudin Owaisi got into a verbal duel with home minister Amit Shah over the amendments and insisted on a division, the vote took place. Shah was quick to seize the moment to say that it is better to have a vote as it will show who is against national security.

 

During the debate, Owaisi was supported by the Congress and other parties which said that NDA government would misuse the law to target some people and communities. They said that India will turn into a "police state".Shah countered by saying that terrorism has no religion and the government will never misuse the law. But since the NDA government has been hyper-sensitive over the definition of nationalism, has been using the sedition law quite liberally and its agencies have diluted cases against several people involved in the so-called "Hindu terror", concerns remain over the misuse of the law.

 

But do the present amendments have anything to do with the misuse? The law could be misused as it stood, even before amending it. The NIA has ample powers to harass targeted people if the government wants. The current amendments are only to fine-tune the law and make it up to date by adding several new areas such as human trafficking, circulation of fake currency and sale of prohibited arms among others, which can be investigated by the NIA. It focuses on the matters of cybercrime, something which terrorists are increasingly resorting to. Maybe Owaisi is concerned about the proviso that seeks to declare suspected individuals as terrorists (as opposed to organizations till now), but since one-man armies are not uncommon now, this proviso has to be there. Only, it has to be used with utmost care.

 

When it came to voting on the bill, no party voted against it. The bill was passed with only 6 votes against it, comprising mainly of AIMIM and individual MPs. This proves that all major political parties want the NIA to be given more powers to investigate terror crimes. Concerns over misuse should be addressed by the parties by remaining vigilant and by not allowing the government of the day to play a partisan role.