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Govt to repeal POTA: Shivraj Patil
June 11, 2004 23:24 IST
The Union government has decided to repeal the controversial Prevention of Terrorism Act.
But Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil said the government would not 'leave things in vaccum' and amend the existing laws to tackle terrorism.
Patil said the government has taken a 'decision in principle' to repeal POTA and asserted that the intention with which the anti-terrorism law was enacted was not achieved.
"We are not going to leave things in a vacuum. These problems can be solved. We will amend the existing laws," he said when asked whether the fight against terrorism could suffer if POTA was repealed.
The home minister, however, declined to give any specific timeframe by when the controversial act would be removed from the statute book. He was replying to a query if the government will bring a bill to this effect in the Budget session of Parliament next month.
Asked if the repeal of the law will also have retrospective effect on the previous POTA cases, the home minister said the issue involved the state governments and there was no case with the Centre.
"When we will take a decision on POTA, we will apply our mind on all these issues," he said.
Asked if the Centre would advice the states like Maharashtra to do away with POTA like acts like MCOCA, the home minister said, "Union government is not in a position to tell the states in the matter. It is left to them. They may decide what to do."
On whether a law like POTA was needed as earlier there were laws like MISA and TADA which were repealed, Patil said, "All these difficulties cannot be solved simply by law, force or talks. A multipronged approach is needed."
Asked about reports that the previous government had started some talks on the Ayodhya issue, the home minister said that he had not come across such a development. He said right now the government was depending upon courts to resolve the issue.
To a specific query whether his government would sparingly use Article 356, Patil said, "It should be appropriately used. It has to be used in the spirit in which it has to be used."
Asked about the issue of creation of Telangana, Patil said the government has taken over recently, so he needed some time and would not give any definite timeframe.
Admitting that Gujarat like incidents prompted the UPA to think about anti-communal law, Patil said, "Well certainly Gujarat but also other things have happened at other places."
Patil assured the states that his government was committed to follow the Constitution in letter and spirit in dealing with them and would not discriminate with any state irrespective of the party in power there.
The home minister also emphasised on the implementation of the recommendations of various commissions that went into modernisation and other aspects of the police force.
The home minister replied to wide-range of questions, including left extremism, centre-state relations and Naga insurgency.