Press Trust of india

Hafiz Saeed, Masood Azhar will be first to be declared ‘terrorists’ once new law comes into effect

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New Delhi, Jul 26:  India's most wanted Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar will be the first two individuals to be designated as “terrorists” once the proposed amendments in the country's anti-terror law come into effect, officials said on Friday.

The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019, passed by Lok Sabha and waiting for the approval of Rajya Sabha, will provide for seizure of properties and putting travel ban on such individuals once they are declared as terrorists.

Pakistan-based Hafiz Saeed, believed to be the “mastermind of 2008 Mumbai terror attacks”, and Azhar, “whose JeM was responsible for the recent Pulwama attack and 2001 attack on Parliament”, will be the first two individuals “who will be declared as terrorists once Rajya Sabha passes the Bill and the amendments come into effect,” a home ministry official said.

The proposed law will be in conformity with the international standards and UN convention.

An individual's proscription as terrorist will happen only after the approval of the Union Home Ministry, the official said.

Individual designated as a terrorist can appeal to the Union Home Secretary who will have to dispose of the appeal within 45 days.

In addition, a review committee headed by a sitting or retired judge with at least two retired secretaries of the Government of India as members can be approached against the decision of declaration of an individual as terrorist.

Once designated as a terrorist, the government will take action like seizing his assets etc.

However, details of the action to be taken under the proposed law would be decided when Rules to the Act will be framed after the Bill is passed by Parliament and gets President's assent, another official said.

The data of the individuals who would be proscribed as terrorist will be shared with foreign governments, he said.

The official said in last 15 years, 42 organisations were declared unlawful and among them just one -- Deendar Anjuman - has pleaded before the government against the decision.

However, when the government re-confirmed its decision, the group did not challenge it in a court of law.

"Our checks and balances are robust in case of organisations and similar will be put in place in case of individuals too," the official said.

Lok Sabha on Wednesday approved the bill to amend an anti-terror law aimed at allowing the government to designate an individual as a terrorist with Home Minister Amit Shah asserting this is of "prime importance" to nip terrorism in the bud.

Defending the amendments to make the law "strict", Shah also allayed fears of the opposition parties on its misuse and said they will keep the investigation agencies "four steps" ahead of the terrorists.

Reiterating the zero tolerance policy of the Modi government against terrorism, Shah said the objective of the proposed amendments is to facilitate speedy investigation and prosecution of terror offences and designating an individual as terrorist in line with the international practices.

“An individual's psychology is the birth place of terrorism... if, in the first place, an individual is stopped from attracting other individuals into terrorism by providing ideological and financial support, this menace can be finished," he said.

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