Lok Sabha passes bill to strengthen NIA, Amit Shah says Modi govt wants to uproot terrorismhttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/modi-govt-will-never-misuse-nia-law-amit-shah-5830555/

Lok Sabha passes bill to strengthen NIA, Amit Shah says Modi govt wants to uproot terrorism

Shah asserted that the Narendra Modi-led government will never misuse it on the basis of religion and said instead it will ensure the menace of terrorism is uprooted irrespective of the religion of the guilty. 

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Parliament should speak in one voice in giving powers to the NIA to send out a message to terrorists and the world, Amit Shah asserted. (File)

The Lok Sabha on Monday passed the National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2019, seeking to empower the agency to probe terror attacks targeting Indians and Indian interests on foreign soil.

Aside from this, the amendments will also allow the NIA to probe cybercrimes and cases of human trafficking.

The NIA was set up in 2009 in the wake of the Mumbai terror attack that had claimed 166 lives. Since 2017, the Union Home Ministry has been pushing for giving more power to the NIA to meet fresh challenges.

Defending the bill, Union Home Minister Amit Shah countered opposition claims over “misuse” of the NIA law. He asserted that the Narendra Modi-led government will never misuse it on the basis of religion and said instead it will ensure the menace of terrorism is uprooted irrespective of the religion of the guilty.

He also targeted the previous Congress-led UPA government for repealing anti-terror act POTA, saying it was not done because of its alleged misuse but to “save its vote bank”. Shah further said terror attacks witnessed an upsurge after the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) was repealed resulting in the same UPA government being forced to constitute NIA after the Mumbai attacks.

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Seeking all-party support for the bill’s passage, Shah said 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.

Explained: What are the changes in NIA (Amendment) Bill 2019

Shah’s response came as several opposition leaders criticised the bill and accused the government of using investigating agencies for “political vendetta”. Some MPs claimed that the anti-terror law is misused at times to target members of a particular community. Click here for Parliament highlights

“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,” Shah said.

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

(With PTI inputs)

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