Government's efforts to move the Unlawful Activities Prevention Bill (UAPA) for passage in the Lok Sabha ran into rough weather with AIADMK and BJD members seeking to discuss it at a later date.
The sparsely attended Lok Sabha saw some deft handling of the situation by Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who convinced the opposing members that the provisions of the UAPA did not mean a tacit implementation of the provisions of the controversial National Counter Terrorism Centre.
As soon as Shinde moved the amendments to the UAPA, which propose to expand the definition of "terrorist act" to include offences which threaten the country's "economic security", AIADMK member M Thambidurai sought deferment of discussion.
"This matter was discussed at length in the all party meeting. There was no consensus. Please defer this Bill," he said. Some AIADMK members also joined him.
B Mahtab (BJD) also said that the Bill could be discussed afterwards. "We are not saying we do not want to discuss it. There are six pages of amendments. We will consider it afterwards. Please do not rush this Bill," he said.
Seeking to clarify matters, Shinde said there were two important legislations - one was UAPA and the other NCTC.
"It was NCTC which was opposed. This (UAPA) was referred to chief secretaries of states and their views have been considered. You are talking of NCTC, not this (UAPA)," he said.
Francisco Sardinha (Cong), who was in the Chair, called Arjun Ram Meghwal (BJP) to start the debate. The bill also enhances from two years to five years the period for which an association involved in terrorist acts, including terror financing, will be declared unlawful.