Not reached conclusion on new anti-terror law: PM

September 24th, 2008 - 2:35 am ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghOn Board Air India One, Sep 24 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday said his government had not “reached any conclusion” on a new anti-terror law to counter rising terrorism in the country and had asked a group of officials to study a report on the issue.”I have not reached any conclusion yet. I have asked a group of officials to study the report of the Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC),” the prime minister told reporters when asked whether his government was considering a new law to counter terrorism in India.

He was referring to last week’s report of the ARC headed by Congress leader M. Veerappa Moily that recommended a more stringent anti-terror law to deal with the recent spate of terror attacks in Indian cities, including the Sep 13 Delhi serial blasts.

Underlining the fight against terrorism was more than a matter of law, the prime minister said: “It’s quite a complex issue. It’s not just the question of law alone. I was reading the British newspaper which says ‘while we are able to prosecute we are not able to catch one (terrorist)’,” he said.

The proposal for a new anti-terror law is a contentious issue that has divided the Indian political establishment with opposition parties like the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) relentless in its demand for a tougher anti-terror law.

“I am not going into centre-state relations. The centre has a responsibility to assist and decide whether we need such a law,” he replied when asked about his response to demands of some state governments to have their own anti-terror law.

There are divisions in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government over the issue of anti-terror law. However, on the whole the government is not in favour of a new anti-terror law as it fears its misuse to target specific sections of the society as it happened with the POTA during the previous National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime.

With elections barely months away and the BJP determined to make terrorism its war cry, the government doesn’t want to be seen to be conceding on an anti-terror law which will buttress charges of being soft on terror.

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