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Opposition wants POTA back, UPA says 'no'

December 01, 2008 09:15 IST

An all-party meeting convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] to discuss the Mumbai terror strikes on Sunday night saw sharp differences on the issue of a tough anti-terror POTA-like law with BJP making a strong demand for such a law and the United Progressive Alliance opposing it tooth and nail.

Several parties spoke in favour of setting up a federal agency and strengthening intelligence gathering machinery and beefing up coastal security.

BJP leaders V K Malhotra and Jaswant Singh pitched for revival of POTA but the demand was shot down by UPA, which contended that despite POTA being in force, terrorists attacked Parliament when NDA was in power. The UPA allies suggested a new law minus the "draconian provisions" of POTA.

Several leaders sought strong action against Pakistan for supporting terrorists to carry out violence in India with the National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah seeking a "tit for tat" action against the neighbouring country, sources said.

However, no party spoke of hot pursuit or something that could lead to a conflict with Pakistan.

A few leaders including LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan sought to differentiate between a Pak-based terrorist and a Pak-supported terrorist saying that terrorists have carried out violence even in Pakistan.

The BJP is understood to have also raised the issue of Malegaon blast, saying that there should not be politics for the sake of votes, which triggered sharp criticism from UPA partners.

RJD chief Lalu Prasad and SP President Mulayam Singh Yadav [Images] were of the view that such all party meetings should be held from time to time. 

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