Lok Sabha Amends NIA Bill, Oppn Fumes
Intervening in the debate on the National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2019, Shah said that BJP government was keen to eradicate terrorism and will not look at the religion of the accused while doing so.
He accused the UPA government of taking a U-turn in the Samjhauta Express probe case, saying that those who were caught initially were released and others were caught. He said innocents had been framed.
The bill which seeks to strengthen National Investigation Agency (NIA) by empowering it to probe offences committed outside India against Indian citizens or affecting the interests of India, was passed by 278-6 majority. Shah demanded a division to put on record “who were against terrorism.”
Answering queries from members, he said if Pakistan does not cooperate in terror-related probes by NIA, there were other ways including “surgical strikes” and “aerial strikes” to get the message across. He said international pressure will force Pakistan to sign a SAARC agreement concerning fighting terror.
Shah also firmly advised AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi to listen to the speeches of other MPs after the member contested the remarks of BJP MP Sayapal Singh.
Taking digs at UPA, Shah said the repeal of POTA had led to rise in terrorism.
“It (POTA) was repealed to save the vote bank politics. It was helpful in protecting the borders of the country,” he said.
He said that the decision to repeal the POTA, taken by the first UPA government in its first Cabinet meeting, was a “political decision”.
Shah said the opposition members can do their politics but should not use the parliament for this. The minister, who faced some interruptions from opposition members, said the decision to repeal POTA was not correct and the view was also shared by security agencies.
“There was such rise in terrorism between 2004 and 2008 that the UPA had to bring the NIA Bill,” he said, adding that if there were POTA, Mumbai blasts and the terror attack could have been prevented.
He said government acts tough against any form of terrorism without looking at one’s religion and referred to the “tough action” in cases relating to the LTTE.
Shah urged members to speak with caution as their remarks can have implications in the long run. “If we are not united, it can boost the morale of terrorists,” he said.
Later, responding point-by-point to queries raised by members, Shah said terrorism is “neither right wing or left wing” but is terrorism.
Referring to concerns raised by National Conference member Hasnain Masoodi, he said there was one designated court in every state and said any misinformation spread on the issue will not work with the people of the state.
He said the BJP-led government was concerned about rights of those killed by terrorists.
“You are so concerned about personal liberty but those who are killed by terrorists, are you not concerned about their children their widows. We are concerned about them also,” he said.
Responding to a query about Pakistan, he said there was a SAARC agreement which Pakistan has not signed.
He said if Pakistan does not cooperate in NIA probe “there are other ways – surgical strike, air strike”. The surgical strike on terror launch pads and aerial strike on terror camp were carried out during rule of first term of Modi government.
Responding to a query from Congress member Manish Tewari about legality of CBI, he said the court had not given its final judgement.
Shah then took a dig at Congress. “If it was illegal, then Congress would have been the biggest sufferer because the kind of misuse Congress has made of CBI, probably no one else has done,” he said.
Shah said once a case is taken up by NIA, there is no interference by the state agencies. He said NIA had 90 percent success ratio in getting convictions.
Answering a query about witness protection programme, he said there were court rulings and the central agencies follow them.
On queries by Owaisi about CBI not filing appeals in some terror-related cases, he said the decision was not taken by the agencies themselves but is based on the opinion of law officer.
He said the BJP-led government works according to law with investigative agencies, prosecution wing and judiciary doing their respective work.
Citing Samjhauta Express case, he took a dig at UPA government and said some people were caught by the investigative agencies after the blasts.
He said UPA government released those who had been caught initially and others were caught others.
“Why were they released, for what reason,” he asked.