Upper house takes up UAPA bill, Opposition parties raise concern

Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy tabled the UAPA (Unlawful activities (prevention) Amendment) Bill 2019 in Rajya Sabha on Thursday. Opposition parties have raised concerns over the provisions of the bill.

The UAPA 2019 Bill seeks to amend Unlawful activities (prevention) Act 1967 giving the government the power to designate individuals as terrorists if he is found to be involved in acts of terrorism. The aforesaid bill has been given approval by Lok Sabha on July 24.

Rejecting opposition’s stand for not extending the sitting of the ongoing session, The Central government has introduced this bill in the Upper house for approval. The Opposition parties have alleged this practice as “unfair” and accused the government of passing the bills without proper scrutiny in the house.

Consequently, similar allegations were levelled against the ruling government when Muslim Women Bill was tabled in the house. Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad criticised the government’s move to pass the bills without proper intimidation and scrutiny.

Minister of Parliamentary affairs Pralhad Joshi called the Chair to take up the bill for discussion. He told that with just four working days left in the session, the government has a lot of business to transact.

Congress questioned the intentions of government behind certain provisions of the bill but G Kishan Reddy slammed their accusations. Parties such as Congress, Samajwadi Party, Trinamool Congress, and MDMK  have called the provisions of the bill “draconian” in nature.

Trinamool Congress leader Sukhendu Shekhar Roy showed his apprehension on the bill and accused the government of misusing the bill to target those who are critical of the government. He said, ” People fighting for tribal rights, environment protection would be branded as terrorists though this law.”

The senior leader of Congress, therefore, urged the government to take up the bill on Friday and called for detailed discussion before passing it.

The 2019 UAPA bill empowers government not only to declare certain outfits as a terrorist organisation but it also empowers the government to label an individual as terrorists. Under the salient features of the bill, Director-General of NIA (National Investigation Agency) gets power to order the seizure of property if the case is under investigation of agency.

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