NDA chief ministers say new terror law without teeth

January 6th, 2009 - 10:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyNew Delhi, Jan 6 (IANS) The chief ministers from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Tuesday asserted that they had grave apprehension over the newly enacted terror law and the National Investigation Agency (NIA).The chief ministers of the NDA ruled states were speaking at a conference on internal security convened by Home Minister P. Chidambaram and chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Seven of the nine NDA chief ministers, who attended the meet, said the new law would serve little purpose and that the states should have been consulted ahead of formulating the NIA Act.

They said the proposed amendment to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act lacked teeth and was formulated in a hurry.

Home Minister P. Chidambaram at a press conference later said he would be writing to the chief ministers to allay their apprehensions.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Madhya Pradesh’s Shivraj Singh Chouhan were among the most vociferous.

Modi said: “The bill still lacks certain most important aspects as it by nature is reactive and not pro-active.”

He raised questions over the government’s will to check terrorism and said it “should display its resolve to fight terrorism head-on to instil a confidence in 100 crore citizens”.

Modi stressed the need for a stringent anti-terror law, stating that the “government had made a mockery of the legislation by not including confession made before a police officer as inadmissible evidence”.

“How will Pakistan accept our testimony when our own law does not accept Mumbai blasts accused (Ajmal Amir) Kasab’s confession as evidence,” the Gujarat chief minister said.

He said the centre and states should fight terrorism together and was unhappy that the government “hastily” set up the National Investigation Agency “sidetracking the states and taking upon itself the responsibility of fighting terrorism”.

Modi said: “More than two-thirds of the (country’s) international border is yet to be fenced. Even where fencing has been completed, it has been damaged due to special characteristics of the terrain.”

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan asserted the NIA could be misused since it had been empowered to pick up any person from anywhere without consulting the state police.

“The provision can be misused to settle personal scores,” Chouhan said.

He called for setting up “an autonomous authority under the NIA law to ensure unbiased investigation”.

Chouhan said that the “state governments have neither been consulted not informed while formulating the law”.

“The democratic and federal structure of the country has not been taken care of,” he added.

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