National Conference MPs abstain from voting in favour
‘Police, Intelligence Officers, Their Informers In JK Most Dreaded Face Of Establishment’
New Delhi, Dec 20: Two National Conference MPs in Rajya Sabha, Muhammad Shafi Uri and GN Ratanpuri, Thursday opposed the bill seeking amendment in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act of 1947. The NC members’ stand was diametrically opposite to the party’s stand in the Lok Sabha earlier this week. The bill was however subsequently passed by the House.
Shafi cleared NC’s stand on the bill when he intervened during the speech of an independent member Muhammed Adeeb. Later Rattanpuri said while such laws are being strict, they don’t yield the desired results. He quoted instances of ‘misuse of power’ by police and intelligence officers. “We have countless such instances in our country where innocent people have been killed in fake encounters. They have spent years in jails. Businesses and properties were destroyed but no one ever expressed regrets for such acts,” he said.
Referring to J&K, Ratanpuri said “many such cases have taken place in the State where such laws were used to settle personal score or to score political points.” “Innocent people have been killed in encounters on the orders of senior officials and later they were spared even after being found guilty by enquiries,” he said.
Pertinently, the amendments to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act of 1947 seek to include procurement of weapons, raising funds for “terrorist activities” and counterfeiting Indian currency under the definition of a “terrorist act.”
Replying to the debate, Minister of State for Home R P N Singh said the amended law will not be misused. “This Bill is against terrorism and terrorists. I assure that the bill is religion neutral...Terrorism is not just about guns, it is also about attack on a country's economy,” he said. Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said an individual, group of individuals, an association who are involved in counterfeit currency circulation will be covered under the law and is not against innocent people.
BJP had sought an amendment in the bill to include NGOs under it so that their foreign funding also comes under scanner for its “misuse in terrorist activities”, but later withdrew it. The CPI-M amendment seeking to take trade unions out of the purview of this Act was negated by a majority 79 members out of 107 present. 28 members voted in favour of the amendment.
During the discussion, a number of members mainly from JD-U, RJD, CPI and CPI-M expressed serious apprehensions over the law granting extra powers to police and its misuse against members of a particular community, caste and trade unions.
Many members also asked government not to pass the Bill in haste and have a rethink. They demanded that the bill be sent to the Select Committee for seeking views of members of various parties by holding wider consultations.
Some members also termed the law as “draconian”, saying it will become another tool in the hands of police to harass innocents.
GK BUREAU ADDS
Referring to J&K, Ratanpuri said: “Sir, you have to live in Kashmir to feel the reality of Kashmir. Unscrupulous police and intelligent officers and their informers have been the most dreaded face of the establishment in the history of Kashmir during the last 65 years,” he said.
“Innocent people have been killed in encounters in Kashmir on the orders of very senior police officials and when enquiries establish their innocence, the senior officers were let off because they would plead that they were fed wrong information by their sources and informers.”
He said: “I am personally a witness to an episode where a very senior police officer threatened a legislator because he had questioned former’s behavior during the elections. This legislator was put behind the bars for more than a year after the incident although he was a suspect in a murder case and police choose to keep the evidence against him closed for personal reasons.”
He continued: “I am witness to another episode where a District Superintendent of Police misbehaved with a Member of Parliament and then sent feelers to him that his relatives will be implicated in false cases if he dared to move a Privilege Motion against him. When this threat did not work he threatened to plant bomb material at MP's residence and then followed this threat by an advice that police officers can make or mar political careers.”
Lastupdate on : Thu, 20 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 20 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 21 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST
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