- Amendments to UAPA Act cleared by parliament last month
- Allows centre to designate individuals as terrorists, impose restrictions
- Saeed plotted 2008 Mumbai attacks, Azhar behind Pulwama strike
Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar and Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Muhammad Saeed were on Wednesday declared individual terrorists by the government under a new anti-terror law.
The announcement was made nearly a month after parliament approved an amendment to The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment or UAPA Act, 1967.
"The central government believes that Maulana Masood Azhar is involved in terrorism and Maulana Masood Azhar is to be notified as a terrorist under the said Act," a home ministry notification said.
"The central government believes that Hafiz Muhammad Saeed is involved in terrorism and Hafiz Muhammad Saeed is to be notified as a terrorist under the said Act," it added.
While Hafiz Saeed was the brains behind the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, Masood Azhar was responsible for the recent Pulwama attack as well as the 2001 attack on parliament.
The amendment to the UAPA Act, which gave powers to the government to designate individuals as "terrorists" were passed in parliament last month.
"Terrorism has no religion, terrorists are against humanity; all should support stringent laws against it," Home Minister Amit Shah had said as the opposition contended that provisions of the bill violated individual liberty.
The amended bill went through after the Rajya Sabha rejected an opposition-backed motion to send it to a select committee.
Under the new bill, the government can impose a travel ban on individuals who have been designated as "terrorists" and seize their properties. The law is in conformity with United Nations conventions as well as international standards, the government said.
Individuals designated as terrorists can appeal to the Union Home Secretary, who will have to dispose of the plea within 45 days. In addition to this, they can also approach a review committee comprising a sitting or retired judge and at least two retired secretaries of the government.