Amid Opposition protest, NIA Amendment Bill passes in Lok Sabha

The National Investigative Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was passed by Lok Sabha on Monday, after a detailed discussion and a spirited defense by Union Minister for Home Affairs, Amit Shah.

While replying to the debate on the Bill to give powers to NIA to investigate the terror crimes relating to Indians and Indian interests abroad, today in Lok Sabha, the Home Minister backed a strong NIA to strengthen the legal framework against terrorism. He said that conviction has been achieved in 90% of the cases decided so far, which is one of the finest records in the world. Shah hailed the NIA for its achievements and said that India would finish terrorism by building a strong NIA.

Allaying opposition’s apprehensions on misuse of agencies the Home Minister quoted the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and said that this Government is governed by Rule of Law and all investigative agencies follow the procedure established by law. He reassured the House that the agency would not be misused in any way by the Government.

Shah said that the POTA should not have been removed in the first place, as it led to a rise in acts of terror. This has been corroborated by Indian security agencies as well, he added. Amit Shah also questioned why the perpetrators of the Samjhauta Express blast were allowed to walk free even when American agencies found their involvement in the act of terror.

Reiterating ‘Zero Tolerance’ policy of the Government against terrorism, Shah said “Terrorism is Terrorism, it’s neither RIGHT nor LEFT. Perpetrators of terrorist acts need to be punished and will get punished.” All political parties, members of Parliament and the Government must come together to fight terror without pointing fingers at each other, otherwise it would boost the morale of the terrorists.

Shah said, “We care for the widows of our martyred soldiers, we care for their sacrifices. Thus, it is important to strengthen NIA to investigate terror related crimes and bring justice to these widows.”

The Home Minister said that by designating special courts, the cases would be expedited and transfers or delay in appointments of judges would not delay them.

While taking part in the debate on the bill, Minister of State for Home Affairs, G. Kishan Reddy reinforced Government’s federal outlook and said that state police teams and other agencies would work in coordination with NIA in terror related matters. There would be no encroachment by the Centre on the activities of the State machinery, he added.

Reddy said that the multi-agency centre would be strengthened and sharing of information between Centre and states on terrorism related matters would be smoothened. There would be no discrimination among the agencies.

The Minister further added that terrorism has no religion, no caste, no gender. It is against humanity. The Government will take all stakeholders along with itself in fighting terrorism, following a ‘Zero Tolerance Policy’.