Security Concerns: (Terrorists under UAPA)

Published on 05-Sept-2019 – Terrorists under UAPA

Azhar, Hafiz and Dawood designated as terrorists under UAPA

Approx Read Time: 5 minutes

In News:

  • Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar, Hafiz Saeed of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, his deputy Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, who planned and executed the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, are the first four persons designated as “terrorists” under the anti-terror law passed by Parliament on August 2.
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued a gazette notification declaring them terrorists under Clause (a) of sub-section (1) of Section 35 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967.
  • HM Amit Shah said on August 2, “It is important to identify terrorists and not just organisations.”

About declared terrorists: Terrorists under UAPA

  • Masood Azhar(JeM chief): Involved in
    • Attacks on the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly complex in 2001.
    • Attack on Parliament in 2001.
    • Attack on Pathankot airbase in 2016.
    • Attacks on BSF camp in Srinagar in 2017.
    • Pulwama attack on February 14, 2019.
    • Designated as a global terrorist by the UN under the UNSC Resolution 1267 on May 1, 2019.
    • Declared as a proclaimed offender by the special judge (POTA).
  • Hafiz Saeed: Involved in
    • Attacks on Red Fort in 2000.
    • Attacks a CRPF camp in Rampur (Uttar Pradesh).
    • Mumbai attacks in 2008 in which 166 people were killed.
    • Attack on a BSF convoy at Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir in 2015.
  • Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi: Involved in
    • Attacks on Red Fort attack in 2000.
    • Attacks on Rampur CRPF camp in 2008, Mumbai in 2008.
    • Attack on a BSF convoy at Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir in 2015.
  • Dawood Ibrahim:
    • Ran an international underworld crime syndicate.
    • Involved in perpetrating acts of terror,
      1. Promoting religious fundamentalism.
      2. Terror financing.
      3. Arms smuggling.
      4. Circulation of counterfeit currency.
      5. Money laundering.
      6. Narcotics, extortion.
      7. Benami real estate business in India and abroad.
    • Assassination attempts on prominent personalities.
    • Executed a series of bomb blasts (with his associates) in Mumbai in March 1993, resulted in deaths of 257 people and injured over 1000 others apart from the destruction of properties on a massive scale.

About Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967:

  • The Act provides special procedures to deal with terrorist activities, among other things.
  • Who may commit terrorism: Under the Act, the central government may designate an organisation as a terrorist organisation if it:
    1. Commits or participates in acts of terrorism.
    2. Prepares for terrorism.
    3. Promotes terrorism.
    4. Is otherwise involved in terrorism.
    5. The Act additionally empowers the government to designate individuals as terrorists on the same grounds.
  • Approval for seizure of property by NIA:
    1. Prior approval of the Director General of Police (DGP) is needed for an investigating officer to seize properties that may be connected with terrorism.
    2. But, if the investigation is conducted by an officer of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the approval of the Director General of NIA would be required for seizure of such property.

Investigation by NIA:

  • Under the Act, investigation of cases may be conducted by officers of the rank of Deputy Superintendent or Assistant Commissioner of Police(DSP/ACP) or above.
  • Act empowers the officers of the NIA, of the rank of Inspector or above, to investigate cases.

Insertion to schedule of treaties:

  • The Act defines terrorist acts to include acts committed within the scope of any of the treaties listed in a schedule to the Act.
  • The Schedule lists nine treaties, including:
    • Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings (1997).
    • Convention against Taking of Hostages (1979).
    • International Convention for Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (2005).
  • The UAPA was first amended in 2004, then in 2008 and again in 2013.
  • The 2004 amendment was to ban organisations for terror activities, under which 34 outfits, including the LeT and the JeM, were banned.

Concerns regarding the UAPA Act:

  • The power of NIA (which is under the control of the central government) to any state without taking permission from state police concerned for checking anti-terror activities has been opposed fearing it would amount to encroaching upon the rights of the states.
  • The law it could be misused against political opponents and civil society activists who spoke against the government may be branded as “terrorists.”

Conclusion:

  • To designate Azhar, the MHA mentioned five cases, including the February 14 Pulwama attack, in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.
  • Maulana Masood Azhar is accused in various cases registered and being investigated by the National Investigation Agency and chargesheet had been filed against him in Pathankot air base attack case; Red Corner Notices have been issued against Azhar.

Also Read: International Relations (India, South Korea & Japan)

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