Lok Sabha passes NIA Amendment Bill

The House also witnessed a spat between the Home Minister and AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi.

Published - July 15, 2019 05:24 pm IST

Home Minister Amit Shah speaking in the Lok Sabha on July 15, 2019.

Home Minister Amit Shah speaking in the Lok Sabha on July 15, 2019.

The Lok Sabha on July 15, 2019 passes The National Investigative Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2019. This Bill gives NIA officers power to investigate offences committed outside India too, and mandates the setting up of Special Courts.

Refuting Opposition claims over “misuse” of the NIA law, Home Minister Amit Shah asserted that the Modi government will never misuse it on the basis of religion but ensure that terrorism is finished off irrespective of the religion of the accused.

In an intervention during a discussion in Lok Sabha, Mr. Shah also targeted the Congress-led UPA government for repealing the anti-terror act POTA, saying it was not done because of its alleged misuse but to “save its votebank”.

He said terror attacks witnessed an upsurge after the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) was repealed resulting in the same UPA government being forced to constitute NIA after the Mumbai attacks.

Mr. Shah sought all-party support for the Bill’s passage, saying a division in the House on the issue of strengthening the Agency will send out a wrong message and boost the morale of terrorists.

Parliament should speak in one voice in giving powers to the NIA to send out a message to terrorists and the world, he asserted.

His response came as several opposition leaders criticised the bill and accused the government of using investigating agencies for “political vendetta”.

Some MPs said the anti-terror law is misused at times to target members of a particular community.

“Let me make it clear. The Modi government has no such intention. Its only goal is to finish off terrorism but we will also not look at the religion of the accused while taking action,” Mr. Shah said.

Spat with Owaisi

The House also witnessed a spat between the Home Minister and AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi, with the BJP leader asserting that he is not frightening anyone but cannot help when someone has fear in their minds.

The verbal duel began when Opposition members including Mr. Owaisi started interrupting BJP’s Satyapal Singh.

Mr. Singh alleged that the then Hyderabad Police commissioner was asked by a political leader of the State to change the course of investigation in a particular case else he could be transferred out.

He said he is aware of the development as at that time he was Mumbai police commissioner.

Objecting to his claim, Mr. Owaisi, a MP from Hyderabad, demanded that Mr. Singh should place on table of the House all records related to his claim.

On this, Mr. Shah got up from his seat and said Treasury members did not disturb Opposition members during their speeches so they should also do the same.

Pointing out at Mr. Owaisi, Mr. Shah said Opposition members should have the patience to listen to others point of view. Mr. Owaisi got agitated and asked Mr. Shah to not point a finger at him and said he cannot be frightened.

In response, Mr. Shah said he is not trying to frighten him and just saying that Opposition members should have patience to listen to the counter view.

“When you have fear in your mind then what can I do,” he hit back.

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