Advani wants POTA back

May 14th, 2008 - 11:29 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh
By Sahil Makkar
Jaipur, May 14 (IANS) Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani Wednesday urged the Indian government to re-enact the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) to meet the challenge of terrorists. “After seeing the major blasts in Jaipur, it is high time for the government of India to reintroduce POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act),” Advani told reporters here.

“Withdrawal of POTA has done immense harm by not only impairing the capacity of law enforcing agencies and demoralizing them, but also, more sinisterly, by sending a wrong message to the terrorists about our national resolve to fight and finish them,” he said.

Asked who could be behind Tuesday’s blasts that killed at least 63 people, Advani said: “There is suspicion on HuJI (Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami). But I am not very much sure.”

The former deputy prime minister accused the Manmohan Singh government of being guided by vote bank considerations when it repealed POTA.

“The UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government repealed POTA soon after assuming office in May 2004. What is worse, the Congress and its allies took perverse pride in having disarmed the law enforcement agencies of the weapon they had in combating terrorist outfits.

“Their campaign against POTA was most irresponsible and short-sighted and inimical to national interest,” he said.

The POTA, enacted when Advani was the home minister, was criticised by rights groups over allegations that it was misused to target members from the minority communities, particularly Muslims.

“The governments of Gujarat and Rajasthan have passed a special law against organized crime. But the central government is sitting over it for the past two years without moving an inch,” he said.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje added: “The central government is biased against Rajasthan and Gujarat. If Maharashtra and states like Himachal Pradesh can have special laws passed by their legislative assemblies, why can’t we?” Rajasthan and neighbouring Gujarat are ruled by the BJP.

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