Today is the International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to Victims of Terrorism. Today, let us renew our pledge to eliminate hatred and division, violent extremism and terrorism of all forms. Let us ensure that the voices of the victims of terrorism are heard. After all, security is a basic human right for all.

Abhinav Khare deep dives into how terrorism is a multi-faceted problem and how our government is indeed trying hard to grapple with it. One such step is the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019. The UAPA, 2019 is set to amend the The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

This amendment will allow the Director-General of National Investigation Agency (NIA) approve seizure or attachment of a property when the case is investigated by them. The new clause in Section 43 of this Act, which empowers NIA officers of Inspector and above ranks to investigate offences mentioned in concerned chapters. It also allows the government to add or remove the name of any person as a terrorist. 

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It is important to note that earlier, only organisations could be labelled as terrorists as per the old Act. This amendment also adds International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (2005) to the list of treaties to help deal with the nuclear threat that is surrounding us.

However, presently people are contesting this amendment on the point that the government can name individuals as terrorist in this Act. This argument is extremely flawed as to declare someone or some organisation a terrorist, with the point being that certain extremely strict procedures are followed. No one can declare any person a terrorist according to their whims and fancies. The examples of Hafiz Saeed, Masood Azhar and Yasin Bhatkal show that such a step should have been taken long ago.

Secondly, since organisations are made up of individuals, and it is of utmost importance that these individuals are declared as terrorists as they are the driving force behind these organisations. Islamic televangelist Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation is one such example.

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Robust procedures are followed while declaring a person a terrorist and even then he can appeal to the court if he feels it was unjustified. 

However, misuse of this law cannot be denied. But this also doesn’t mean that we undermine the good intentions and the anti-terror initiatives of this law. Curbing terrorism requires extremely stringent steps and UAPA is a step in that direction.

About Abhinav Khare:

Abhinav Khare is the CEO of Asianet News and hosts a daily show Deep Dive with Abhinav Khare.

He is the proud father of two beautiful daughters. He lives in Bengaluru with his loving family and a lifetime collection of books and gadgets. He is a hands-on Tech Startup professional with an entrepreneurial DNA. He is passionate about policy, technology, economy and the synergy of them all. An avid traveller himself, he has already ticked over a 42 countries and hundred cities around the globe!