Parliament clears bill to expand definition of terrorist act

New Delhi A bill that seeks to expand the definition of a "terrorist act" by including offences that threaten the country's economic security was passed by Parliament on Thursday amid a walkout by the Left parties, Janata Dal-United and Rashtriya Janata Dal.

The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2012 was passed by voice vote in the Rajya Sabha. The Lok Sabha had passed it earlier.

The amendments seek to include procurement of weapons, raising funds for terrorist activities and printing fake Indian currency under the definition of a "terrorist act".

Minister of State for Home RPN Singh assured the House the amended law would not be misused. "This bill is against terrorism and terrorists. I assure the bill is religion-neutral. Terrorism is not just about guns, it is also about attack on a country's economy," he said.

Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said individuals or groups involved in circulating fake currency circulation will be covered under the law.

The Bharatiya Janata Party had sought an amendment in the bill to include NGOs so that funds sourced by them from foreign donors are not misused for terrorist activities. But 79 of the 107 members present voted against the amendment.

Members of the Left parties, Janata Dal-United and Rashtriya Janata Dal were apprehensive that the law would give the police extra powers and could be misused against certain communities, castes or trade unions. They demanded that the bill be sent to the select committee for seeking the views of parties.

Story First Published: December 20, 2012 20:13 IST

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