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Gujarat gets new anti-terror law

June 03, 2004 00:41 IST

The state assembly passed the Gujarat Control of Organised Crime Bill (GUJCOC) on Wednesday, after deletion of certain clauses, amidst a noisy walkout by Congress members who raised some 'technical' objections against its introduction.

GUJCOC, which was passed on March 26 last year without discussions when the assembly had plunged into total pandemonium following assassination of former Gujarat home minister Haren Pandya, had been awaiting Presidential clearance since then.

Minister of State for Home Amit Shah, who introduced the Bill, said those provisions pertaining to interception of communication have been deleted, as per President A P J Abdul Kalam's directions.

"The deletion of the clauses and other sub-clauses pertaining to interception of communication will in no way decrease the effectiveness of the law," he said.

However, Congress chief whip Arjun Modvadia alleged that the law was framed for 'political victimisation' of weaker sections of society, especially the minority community.

"For the past two years we have been witnessing the misuse of the simple Indian Penal Code. The new law would be nothing but another draconian law to terrorise, suppress and harass the minority community," he alleged.

Modvadia and several other Congress MLAs walked out of the House and continued shouting slogans in the assembly corridors.

Making a scathing attack on ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, Modavadia alleged that the government has not been able to use even the simple IPC properly.

Hitting back at BJP for accusing the Congress of 'tarnishing Gujarat's reputation globally', he said, "The fact that the Supreme Court has had to order transfer of (riot) cases out of the state clearly shows who has actually maligned the state."

At the very outset, Modvadia raised a point of order saying introduction of the bill was 'illegal and unconstitutional' as it had not come through the business advisory committee of the House nor was there any reference in the governor's speech at the beginning of the session.

However, Speaker Mangaldas Patel rejected the point of order after a debate.

To a question regarding repealing of POTA, Amit Shah said, "I don't think POTA would be repealed by retrospective effect. The present cases under the anti-terror law would not be affected."

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