Monday, August 17, 2009

Modi slams Centre for rejecting anti-terror bill GUJCOC

PTI | New Delhi

Hitting out at the Congress-led UPA Government at the Centre, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Monday accused it of playing politics while dealing with terrorism and said he "fails to understand" why it returned the anti-terror bill proposed by his state.

"When it comes to dealing with terrorists, we must draw a clear line between those who are on their side and those who are on the side of society," he said referring to the Centre rejecting his government's Gujarat Control of Organised Crime (GUJCOC) Act.

Modi said the anti-terror bill which had been pending with the Central government for a long time was returned to the state assembly recently with the directions to delete certain provisions.

"...I fail to understand why the central government should oppose provisions which are already part of the similar Acts in Karnataka and Maharashtra," he said while speaking at the Chief Minister's conference on Internal Security here.

The Chief Minister said, "even the so-called liberal democracies and proclaimed upholders of human rights like USA, Canada, Australia etc have enacted laws having more stringent provisions than the proposed GUJCOC Act."

Making a strong case for the proposed law, Modi said the need for such a legislation was not only for punishing the "perpetrators of terrorism" but also to prevent educated youth from being drawn into terrorist ideology.

Modi said it was "shocking and unfathomable" for him to understand the opposition from the Centre to the proposed bill, especially when the terrorists are getting support from across the border and working hand-in-glove with organised crime syndicates.

He also advocated "de-linking" the cases of convicted terrorists in death row from criminals involved in other crimes while considering their amnesty applications.

"Though I am of firm opinion that no such procedure of 'first in first out' need be followed in such cases, yet I would urge the Central Government to at least de-link the cases of such convicted persons who are involved in offences relating to anti-national, terrorist and subversive activities," he said.

"This the least that the sufferers of such terrorist attacks would expect from us as representatives of the States," Modi added.

The amendments by the Centre in the Criminal Procedure Code also came under criticism from Modi who alleged that these have tilted the balance in the favour of the "offenders and guilty".

"...The intention to carry out amendments may be noble to protect the innocent from harassment and to uphold the human rights, these amendments have somehow tilted the balance in favour of offenders and guilty," Modi said.

He also said it should be mandatory for the National Investigation Agency to seek consent of the state government before beginning the probe in any case.

Speaking on the left wing extremism threat in the country, Modi said some cadres from Naxal-affected states like Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa may be taking shelter in his state.

Modi said the state was developing its own Marine Reserve Police Battalion equipped with latest weapons like American assault rifles and sniper rifles for strengthening coastal security. It will be led by a Deputy Superintendent of Police-rank officer.

The Chief Minister suggested a number of measures like training the fishermen so that they could be used as informers, implementing vessel traffic monitoring system and improving security systems at ports and the 1600-km coastline in the state which lies in proximity with Pakistan.

Modi said the state has taken several steps to check terrorist activities which include raising its own Industrial Security Force, networking of the police stations, raising a separate cadre for state intelligence officers as well as modernisation of police force.

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