BJP disappointed over POTA non-revival (Lead)

September 18th, 2008 - 10:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyNew Delhi, Sep 18 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Thursday expressed disappointment over the government nixing its suggestion to revive the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) to deal with a rash of terror attacks across the country.“The statement is disappointing for the nation. The government cannot seem to make up its mind over the issue. One day Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says that they will bring back POTA, the next day his minister says that they would not,” BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar told newspersons here.

The government Thursday firmly ruled out the return of POTA, saying the existing statute would be strengthened to deal with extremism.

“No, no, no. I can tell you POTA will not be brought back. The existing law is adequate. If there are any legal loopholes, these will be plugged,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi said.

He was briefing reporters on the deliberations of a special cabinet meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh chaired late Wednesday in the wake of a spate of terror bombings in the country - including five serial blasts in the capital last Saturday.

“POTA was draconian. There is no question of bringing it back,” the minister maintained.

The United Progressive Alliance government, soon after it came to power in 2004, had repealed POTA, which the previous BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government had enacted.

The BJP has been repeatedly demanding the revival of POTA in the wake of terror bombings in Jaipur, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and New Delhi in which scores of people have been killed and hundreds more injured.

Javadekar said Dasmunsi’s declaration was proof that the government lacked the will to combat terrorism and did not have a roadmap for combating the scourge.

He also expressed concern over the Wall Street crisis and said the government must keep a watch on the international economic developments because they could have a huge impact on India as well.

“Nervous sentiments in the capital market may add fuel to the fire and the government must take immediate necessary steps to ensure security against this,” Javadekar maintained.

“Indians stand to lose many jobs because of the crash in the US investment sector,” he added.

He said that the government must also keep a watch on capital outflows.

“Amidst all this, the rupee has also depreciated so the Reserve Bank of India and the government must keep a check on that too,” Javadekar maintained.

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