[R-G] India to scrap anti-terror law
sandinista at shaw.ca
Thu May 27 21:44:53 MDT 2004
India to scrap anti-terror law
Thursday 27 May 2004 2:24 PM GMT
Critics say the law has affected Muslims disproportionately
India's new left-leaning ruling coalition plans to scrap an anti-terrorism
law after criticism it has been used disproportionately against Muslims.
The Congress party-led coalition, known as the United Progressive Alliance,
says it is concerned the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) "has been
grossly misused in the past two years".
"There will be no compromise in the fight against terrorism, but given the
abuse of POTA that has taken place, the UPA government will repeal it while
existing laws are enforced strictly," the coalition said in its governing
agenda released on Thursday.
The Prevention of Terrorism Act broadened the scope for the death penalty
and gave prosecutors more leeway to detain and interrogate suspects.
Amnesty International had called on Wednesday for the act to be repealed,
saying it was responsible for "many violations of human rights".
The anti-terror act was pushed into law in March 2002 by the then Hindu
nationalist government in the wake of the 11 September 2001 attacks in the
United States and a Kashmiri rebel raid on the Indian parliament.
Critics say the act has been used mostly against the Muslim minority and has
allowed state leaders to target their opponents without oversight from the
The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, a party in southern Tamil Nadu state that is
allied with the new government, had demanded the end of the act after state
leader Jayalalitha Jayaram used the law to jail her opponents.
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