In a development which can be considered as a big step towards strengthening India’s internal security mechanism, the lower house of the Parliament has passed the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment (UAPA) Bill 2019. While 287 members of the Lok Sabha voted in favor of the Bill, only eight dissented. The Congress MPs staged a walkout, demanding that the Amendment Bill be sent to the Standing Committee for review.
However, in an unprecedented move by Samajwadi Party patriarch, Mulayam Singh Yadav came out in support of the critical bill and voted for in favor of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Amendment (UAPA) Bill tabled by NDA in Lok Sabha. As other opposition leaders led by the UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi walked out of the House when Home Minister Amit Shah was speaking, the SP veteran voted in favor of NDA for the Bill.
According to media reports, Mulayam Singh Yadav was the sole Samajwadi Party MP in the house during the voting procedure and was helped by two BJP MP’s Brijbhushan Sharan Singh and Virendra Singh Mast. Ultimately the critical UAPA bill, which is being seen as a huge stride towards improving India’s national security fared successfully in the lower house.
Earlier too, in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, SP Veteran and ex-CM of Uttar Pradesh had praised PM Modi on the last day of Parliament. He had endorsed PM Modi for a second term and praised him for taking everyone along. In the Lok Sabha, he said, “PM ko badhaai dena chahta hun ki PM ne sabko saath le kar chal ne ki koshish ki hai. Main kehna chahta hun ki saare sadaysa phir se jeet kar aayen, aur aap (PM) dobara pradhan mantri banein” (We want him (Narendra Modi) to become Prime Minister once again. He has done good work and nobody can raise a finger against him).
Samajwadi Party's Mulayam Singh Yadav in Lok Sabha: PM ko badhaai dena chahta hun ki PM ne sabko saath lekar chalne ki koshish ki hai. Main kehna chahta hun ki saare sadaysa phir se jeet kar aayen, aur aap (PM) dobara pradhan mantri banein (File pic) pic.twitter.com/reeyh5H9bB
— ANI (@ANI) February 13, 2019
This Amendment Bill seeks to crack down on terrorism by enacting stringent provisions. The Act already empowers the central government to designate an organization as a terrorist outfit if it:
- commits or participates in acts of terrorism
- prepares for terrorism
- promotes terrorism, or
- is otherwise involved in terrorism.
The Amendment Bill provides for empowerment of the central government to designate individuals as terrorists on similar grounds. This will be a crucial addition to the powers of the central government to crack down on terrorists.
The Bill also seeks to additionally empower the NIA officers to seize property in the course of their investigations into terror-related cases. The amendment provides, “If the investigation is conducted by an officer of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the approval of the Director General of NIA would be required for seizure of such property.” As per the existing Act, an Investigating Officer can proceed towards seizure of property connected with terrorism after taking the prior approval of the Director General of Police (DGP).
The existing Act provides for investigation of cases by the officers of the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police or Assistant Commissioner of Police or above. The Amendment Bill seeks to additionally empower the officers of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) of the rank of Inspector or above, to carry out investigations. While the opposition tried to put blocks on the passage of similar important bills, this move by Mulayam Singh Yadav surely sets a positive precedent for Narendra Modi government.