NEW DELHI, Aug 2 - In a big boost to the Government, Parliament on Friday approved a crucial amendment to an anti-terror law allowing the Centre and States to designate individuals as terrorists and seize their properties.
The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill that seeks to amend the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, was passed by Rajya Sabha with 147 votes in favour and 42 against. The Congress and BSP supported the Bill.
The House earlier rejected the Opposition-sponsored motion to send the amendment to a select committee with 104 votes against as compared to 85 in favour. The Congress had also voted in favour of this motion.
The Lok Sabha had passed the Bill on July 24.
Replying to the debate, Home Minister Amit Shah said the law, which will be used only to tackle terror, will help agencies remain four steps ahead of terrorists.
He accused the Congress of giving colour to the law by linking terrorism to religion for political gains.
He alleged that the Congress misused it to frame people linked to a particular religion, in the context of Samjhauta and Mecca Masjid cases, where the accused have been acquitted by court.
He accused the Congress of misusing laws to target the Opposition and cited the example of �Emergency� in this regard when Opposition leaders were put behind bars and restrictions on media were imposed.
This is the third legislation in this session that has cleared the Rajya Sabha hurdle where the ruling party does not have a majority. Earlier, the government got the RTI Amendment Bill and the Triple Talaq Bill passed in the House after it outstrategised the Opposition.
Shah alleged that the Congress said it is important to identify terrorists and not just organisations.
Attacking it, he said the Opposition party should not talk about misuse and it should look into its past.
He cited the example of Emergency, when Opposition leaders were jailed after the court struck down the election of the then Prime Minister.
�What happened during the Emergency? All the media was banned, all Opposition leaders were jailed. There was no democracy for 19 months, and you are accusing us of misusing laws? Kindly look at your own past,� he said.
Speaking about the Samjhauta Express blast case, he said those accused during the UPA regime were let go as the court did not find anything against them and the Congress had registered �false� cases against them, keeping elections in mind.
Shah alleged that the accused belonged to a certain religion and people of one religion were targeted during Congress rule.
Responding to Opposition concerns over the law being misused, he assured no one�s human rights will be violated as a four-stage scrutiny with provision for appeals has been prescribed when individuals are declared terrorists.
Terrorism has no religion, terrorists are against humanity, he said seeking support of all parties to support stringent laws against terrorism. � PTI