On Monday, a law was passed to strengthen the anti-terror National Investigation agency by empowering it to investigate attacks against Indians abroad was passed in the Lok Sabha after intense sparring between the government and opposition.

The newly elected Home Minister Amit Shah, proving wrong the concern of the opposition about the “misuse” of the NIA (Amendment) Bill 2019, stated the government would never misuse it on the basis of religion. He further stated that the government would ensure that terrorism is finished off irrespective of the religion of the accused.

Amit Shah quoted, “The nation must see who supports terrorists”. He criticized the previous government Congress-led government for revoking the anti-terror Prevention of Terrorism Act or POTA, saying it was not done as it was allegedly misused but to “save its vote bank”.

After the POTA was scrapped, he said that terror attacks saw an upsurge which resulted in the same UPA government setting up the NIA after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. The Home Minister said a division in the House would send out a wrong message and boost the morale of terrorists, seeking all-party support for the proposed law. The bill was condemned by several opposition leaders.

“Powers to investigate outside India is a meaningless exercise. We don’t have the same diplomatic clout,” said Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi, the leader of AIMIM. To target the members of a particular community, some  MPs said the anti-terror law was misused at times. “Let me make it clear. The (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi government has no such intention. Its only goal is to finish off terrorism but we will also not look at the religion of the accused while taking action,” Mr. Shah said.

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