Manish Tiwari: Because POTA was misused, Advani initiated its repeal

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on July 23, 2019

‘A myth is being propagated that stringent laws alone can curb terrorism’

The Government introduced a Bill to amend the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, with provisions to designate individuals as terrorists.

The Opposition pointed out that stringent laws have to be accompanied by political dialogue in order to curb terrorism and violent secessionist movements.

Congress MP Manish Tiwari said political discourse and not stringent laws curbed secessionism and violence in Punjab, Mizoram, Tripura, Assam, Nagaland or Arunachal Pradesh.

‘A myth’

“A myth is being propagated that stringent laws are a solution to all problems.Even in Punjab, terrorism and secessionism was conquered when a democratic government was sworn in 1992 and initiated a dialogue,” he said.

Responding to Home Minister Amit Shah’s barb during an amendment bill regarding the National Investigation Agency, that the Congress repealed the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) because of “vote bank politics”, Tiwari said it was not the Congress but former Home Minister and BJP veteran LK Advani who initiated the process of repealing POTA because it was widely misused.

“I want to start by Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) which was brought in May 23, 1985, for Punjab and then expanded across the country during the tenure of four prime ministers. It was in existence for nine years and the conviction rate achieved in this statute was 1.11 per cent.

“This law had to be repealed because it was being used in States free of terrorism. POTA was passed in a joint sitting of this House. Under POTA, 4,349 cases were registered, 1,031 people arrested only 13 people were convicted,” he said.

“It is not a fact to say that POTA was repealed because of political reasons. On March 13, 2003, LK Advani, in this very House said that POTA is being misused and a review committee was to be set up under Justice Arun Saharia. The NDA government brought an ordinance which implemented the recommendations of the POTA review committee in all States.

“The NDA alliance partners put pressure on the government to accept the recommendations of the POTA review committee. When POTA was repealed in 2004, certain terrorism-related provisions of this statute were incorporated in the UAPA. Only the provision that infringed on fundamental rights and civil liberties was repealed,” said Tiwari.

Published on July 23, 2019

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