Petition demanding the reinstatement of Prevention of Terrorism Act (PoTA) or similar laws to combat terrorism in India sign now


September 18, 2004


To:


The Prime Minister of India


Prime Ministers Office


New Delhi,


India



Honorable Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,

We are extremely sorry and very concerned to learn that the UPA government passed the law to repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act, which was enacted by the previous National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, to strengthen the fight against terrorism in India, in 2002. This was achieved by the previous government, in spite of much opposition from the Congress party and other member parties of the UPA government today. In fact, both the houses of the Indian Parliament had convened to deliberate on the passing of Prevention Of Terrorism Ordinance (PoTO). No right-minded Indian can afford to ignore the deliberate ignorance of the self-centered politicians in lessons of priorities of national security. That, too, after the murderous attack by terrorists on the Indian Parliament on December 13, 2001. Tell us, Mr. Prime Minister, what could have happened if the six terrorists involved in the terrorist attack on Indian Parliament on December 13, 2001,succeeded in their designs?


Ever since Pakistan's ISI-sponsored ruthless militancy in India's state of Jammu and Kashmir started in 1989, besides cross border terrorism, anti-national activities in the Indian soil has been growing exponentially. Yet, in 2002, the Government of India had to convene a joint session to have the anti-terror bill passed! And then we have the UPA government, which made the repeal of this much-wanted law as their first priority after the forming of the government in 2004. This is sheer disregard of national security and national interests. What is even more shocking is that Congress and Marxist parties in India are now trying to convince Indian citizens about the adequacy of the States laws in India! All in the name of Human Rights and issues of minorities!


All this has been happening in India, while the rest of the world powers are busy promulgating, or have already done so, laws that are more draconian than the Indian PoTA law (PoTA assured freedom to journalists from revealing facts about terrorists), to protect their land against terrorism, enhance the security of their citizens and thereby strengthen freedom. However, the UPA government is more bothered about human rights of terrorists, completely forgetting the human rights of the India citizens, and about minority (Muslims) rights clearly a political move underscoring vote-bank politics in India. We also dont understand why the Congress party and the Communist parties of the UPA government, label the Indian Muslims as minorities they are the second largest majority in India in the make up of population of India! And please explain to us how could the continuation of the PoTA law have undermined human rights or minority rights?


Masood Azhar, the chief of Jaish-e-Mohammed was languishing in an Indian jail for years until he was freed with flight IC-814 hijack to Kandahar, Afghanistan. If the existing laws in India were so strong enough to deal with terrorists, why wasnt he convicted and punished hanged to death?! It takes years, if not decades, in India to get justice, and the UPA government wants the Indian citizens to believe that existing laws of India are strong enough to deal with horrendous acts such as terrorism! What if Osama Bin Laden is suddenly found in Jammu & Kashmir state, what law will your government use to prosecute him?


Mr. Prime Minister, we are talking about terrorists, not petty thugs and criminals! Only strong laws, can deter acts of terrorism. Your government, or any government of India, is not required to show compassion for human rights of terrorists, more than the governments primary responsibility, to protect the citizens of India!


PoTA was the only law that empowered the government agencies to declare an anti-national organization as a terrorist organization, arrest its members right away (by a rank no lower than Deputy Superintendent of Police) and seize its assets. PoTA was the only law that defined acts of fund raising by persons or organizations if such funds were intended for the purpose of terrorism as terrorism. Unauthorized possession of certain arms and lethal weapons capable of mass destruction or use in biological or chemical warfare constituted a terrorist act as per PoTA. PoTA also provided safeguards such as:


(a) confirmation of FIR by the Director-General of Police and a Review Committee headed by a sitting or retired High Court judge within 10 days and 30 days, respectively


(b) Prior approval of the government before prosecution is launched


(c) Investigation will be done by an officer not below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police


(d) A legal practitioner on behalf of the accused may be allowed during interrogation


(e) Recording of confessions by an officer of SP rank and above will be admitted as evidence and a magistrate should be satisfied, within 48 hours of the confession, that the confession was not made under duress


(f) As against the TADA Act, the confession shall not be admitted as evidence against co-accused and


(g) Prosecution of officials for misusing power.


Then why did the UPA government think that PoTA was a draconian law that endangered the human rights and minority rights? Extra-ordinary acts such as suicide-terrorist acts demand extra-ordinary laws! Even if the UPA governments arguments are believed to be true, why was the complete repeal of the PoTA necessary, instead of a few amendments?!


The UPA government has opened the flood-gate against terrorists operating in India by repealing the PoTA law. This is what your government has accomplished! We hope your government recognizes the seriousness of the issue of terrorism and the laws required to combat it. We hope the UPA government comes back to its senses to reinstates PoTA or similar laws as soon as possible to safeguard the security and freedom of India disregarding specious arguments in the favor of human rights of terrorists (the terrorists forfeit their human rights when they agree to participate in a terrorist act - by the very definition of terrorism which undervalues human rights).



With regards from,




The Non-Resident Indians & People of Indian Origin (Worldwide)






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