Congress moots federal agency as BJP demands POTAMay 14th, 2008 - 11:25 pm ICT by admin
New Delhi, May 14 (IANS) Under fire from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for failing to prevent acts of terrorism, the ruling Congress Wednesday came up with its own prescription of a federal agency to counter terror,though the BJP wanted the now-scrapped draconian anti-terror legislation back. “All Indians must stand united. The government is trying to build a consensus on a central agency (to tackle acts of terrorism across the country),” said Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari.
“Given the trans-state, trans-national nature of terrorism, states should reconsider their opposition to a federal agency. We need seamless coordination, capacity building, and intelligence gathering from states,” added Tewari.
The idea of a federal agency to tackle terrorist attacks was initially opposed by the Congress-ruled states when the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was in power at the centre.
The Congress, in the aftermath of serial blasts that killed 63 people in Jaipur Tuesday evening, seems to be forced to re-think on a federal agency, especially after the BJP has stepped up its demand for a stringent law, along the lines of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA). The legislation, enacted by the NDA when in power, was scrapped by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government when it assumed power in 2004.
The ruling party, however, is not willing to consider the BJP’s demand for re-introductio of a draconian law like POTA.
“POTA is not a law for preventing terrorism. It has facilitated investigations after an act of terror is committed. What we require is not post-mortem but pre-emption of strikes,” said Tewari.
With eight major terror attacks unsolved since the UPA took over, the main opposition BJP is all set to corner the government for its lapses and failure of its agencies so far to nab those involved in these strikes.
“There is a complete failure of central intelligence and UPA policies in tackling terrorism. The UPA government failed to treat terrorism as a national menace,” BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.
Javadekar alleged that the UPA has not been able to solve a “single terror case”.
Tewari, however, put the blame on the state governments for the delay in nabbing the culprits and suggested that the cases should be handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Since Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government took over in May 2004, eight major blasts have taken place - Delhi (October 2005), Guwahati (June 2006), Mumbai (July 2006), Varanasi (March 2007), Hyderabad (May and August 2007), Ajmer (October 2007), and Uttar Pradesh (November 2007). None of these cases has been solved.
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