Headline : Masood Azhar, Hafiz Saeed, Lakhvi, Dawood Ibrahim declared terrorists under new anti-terror law
- India has declared Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief Hafiz Saeed, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar, LeT’s supreme commander of operations in Kashmir Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, all based in Pakistan, as terrorists under the amended Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
- Earlier, only groups or organisations could be declared as terrorists but after the amendment, individuals could also be declared as terrorists.
In brief about the Declared Terrorists:
- The JeM chief was 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 and Pulwama attack on February 14.
- Azhar was also designated as a global terrorist by the UN under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1267 on May 1, 2019, and was declared as a proclaimed offender by the special judge (POTA)
- He was involved in various attacks, including Red Fort in 2000, a CRPF camp in Rampur (Uttar Pradesh), in Mumbai in 2008 in which 166 people were killed and the attack on a BSF convoy at Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir in 2015.
- He was involved in Red Fort attack in 2000, Rampur CRPF camp in 2008, Mumbai in 2008 and on a BSF convoy at Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir.
- Dawood ran an international underworld crime syndicate and was involved in perpetrating acts of terror, promoting religious fundamentalism, terror financing, arms smuggling, circulation of counterfeit currency, money laundering, narcotics, extortion and benami real estate business in India and abroad.
- Dawood was also involved in assassination attempts on prominent personalities to create social disharmony and terrorise common man.
- Dawood also executed a series of bomb blasts along with his associates in Mumbai in March 1993, which resulted in deaths of 257 people and injured over 1000 others apart from the destruction of properties on a massive scale.
- All the four blacklisted terror masterminds are already tagged as ‘global terrorists’ under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 and are also subjects of Interpol red corner notices.
- In August 2019, UAPA was amended to allow the government to ban individual terrorists if it believed they are involved in terrorism.
- Notifying the names of the Pakistan-based terror masterminds in the Fourth Schedule to UAPA brings the Indian terror blacklist in sync with the UN list of designated terrorists.
- This also conforms to FATF standards that require all member countries to ban those designated as global terrorists.
- The ‘individual terrorist’ tag would help Indian agencies with investigation, prosecution and trial of cases registered against the notified terrorists.
Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2019
Designation as Terrorist :
The central government may designate an organisation as well as an individual (added in the recent amendment ) as a terrorist if it:
- commits or participates in acts of terrorism,
- prepares for terrorism,
- promotes terrorism, or
- is otherwise involved in terrorism.
Approval for seizure of property by NIA:
- An investigating officer is required to obtain the prior approval of the Director General of Police to seize properties that may be connected with terrorism.
- 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 (added in recent amendment).
- Investigation of cases may be conducted by:
- Officers of the rank of Deputy Superintendent or
- Assistant Commissioner of Police or above.
- Inspectors of the National Investigation Agency(added in recent amendment).
- The NIA (which is under the control of the central government) can go to any state without taking permission from state police concerned for checking anti-terror activities.
Note: The designation of an individual as a global terrorist by the United Nations is associated with sanctions, including travel bans, freezing of assets and an embargo against procuring arms. However, the UAPA Bill does not provide any such detail.
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.”
Section : Defence & Security