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Archive for December 29th, 2008

Indian Parliament Rushes Thru Repressive “Anti-Terror” Laws

Posted by Mike E on December 29, 2008

repressionThe following is excerpted from a piece on World Socialist Web Site, originally entitled, “Indian parliament rushes through draconian “anti-terror” laws.”

By Deepal Jayasekera 29 December 2008

Barely three weeks after the Mumbai terrorist attack, India’s Congress Party-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government pushed draconian new “anti-terror” laws through parliament.\Amidst an unrelenting din of hysteria over reputed “Pakistani-sourced terrorism,” all sections of India’s political establishment—including the Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena and the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Front—unanimously joined with the Congress and its UPA allies on Dec. 17 to adopt the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendments Act 2008 and the National Investigating Agency Act.

The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendments Act 2008 introduces harsh amendments to the already draconian provisions of a similarly titled 1967 act, including doubling the time “terror” suspects can be held without charge and forcing accused in certain cases to “prove” their innocence. The second bill authorizes the creation of a National Investigating Agency (NIA) akin to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). According to the Indian constitution “law and order” comes under the purview of the state governments. However the new agency will have the authority to probe “terrorist acts” directly without the authorization of local state governments. The National Investigating Agency Act also establishes special courts to try terrorism cases.

Pressing for unanimous passage of the two bills in the Lok-Sabha (the lower house of India’s parliament), Home Minister P. Chidambaram claimed the legislators had “captured the mood of the nation” by agreeing to set aside normal parliamentary procedures to rush through emergency, “consensus” legislation. Chidambaram claimed that the bills were needed to confront the threat of “Jihadi-terrorism,” yet hypocritically urged the legislators not to look at the legislation through a “communal prism.”

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