Will to fight Terror – India inducts first four individuals in Fourth Schedule of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967

In another historic move Modi government inducts individuals ( Terrorists ) in the Fourth schedule of ‘THE UNLAWFUL ACTIVITIES (PREVENTION) ACT, 1967’ to designate individuals in Unlawful activities. The said act till date comprised of three schedules and had no provision of including individuals in Unlawful activities.

The First Schedule – Names Terrorist organizations; The Second Schedule – Lists International Conventions and Treaties; The Third Schedule – Security features to define high quality counterfeit Indian currency notes

The Gazette Notification issued today by Ministry of Home Affairs mentions , “Whereas, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (37 of 1967) has been enacted to provide for more effective prevention of certain unlawful activities of individuals and associations and for dealing with terrorist activities and for matters connected therewith; And whereas, clause (a) of sub-section (1) of section 35 of the said Act empowers the Central Government to notify the name of an individual in the Fourth Schedule to the Act, if it believes that he is involved in terrorism.”

This move of incorporating the Fourth Schedule in the said act was possible through the amendment made by the central government through a proper parliamentary process this year in the month of July. THE UNLAWFUL ACTIVITIES (PREVENTION) AMENDMENT ACT, 2019 commonly known as ‘UAPA’ makes changes in the principle act through change heading of Chapter IV of the principle act including ‘Individuals’ in existing ‘Terrorist Organizations” besides changing other relevant clauses of the principle act.

The individuals (Terrorists) listed in the Fourth schedule of the act :

“1. Maulana Masood Azhar S/o Allah Baksh Sabir founder, chief and key leader of proscribed terrorist organisation Jaish-e-Mohammad, which is listed as a terrorist organization under the ‘First Schedule’ to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 at serial number 6”

“2. Hafiz Muhammad Saeed S/o Kamal-ud-Din founder, chief and key leader of proscribed terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) / Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) which is listed as a terrorist organization under the ‘First Schedule’ to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 at serial number 5.”

“3. Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi S/o Hafiz Aziz-ur-Rehman, is the chief operational commander of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) which is listed as a terrorist organization under the ‘First Schedule’ to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 at serial number 5.”

“4. Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar S/o Ibrahim Kaskar, runs an international underworld crime syndicate and is involved in perpetrating acts of terror, promoting religious fundamentalism, terror financing, arms smuggling, circulation of counterfeit currency, money laundering, narcotics, extortion and benami real estate business in India and abroad and is also involved in assassination attempts on prominent personalities to create social disharmony and terrorize common man. whereas, a series of bomb blasts were executed by Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar and his associates in Mumbai in March 1993, which resulted in deaths of 257 persons and injured over 1000 persons apart from destruction of properties on a massive scale And whereas, an Arrest warrant No. 4913 was issued on the 1st April, 1993 by the judicial authorities in Mumbai and Red Corner Notice No. A-135/4/1993 was also issued against Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar in 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blast case.”

The objective of the new amendments is to facilitate speedy investigation and prosecution in terror-related offences. The most important part of it is allowing an individual to be designated as a terrorist, a measure that is in line with the global practices and UN Listing. Red Corner notices have already been issued by Interpol against these individuals for their terror related activities.

The purpose of incorporating the Fourth Schedule by amending the principle act was necessary to induct proscribed individuals ( Terrorists) in the THE UNLAWFUL ACTIVITIES (PREVENTION) ACT, 1967 for eventual dealing with the terror related activities through various investigative agencies especially National Investigative Agency (NIA). It would be easier as well as effective to deal with individuals as terrorists by bringing in embargo on arms and assets of terrorists. The law facilitates personal and financial information sharing with international agencies.

Besides the NIA will have unbridled powers across India without any bars or approval from respective state governments. NIA will have the powers to seize and attach the properties during the stage of probing.

There were apprehensions by certain Human rights groups and political parties about the misuse of this new amendment act, however government has put them to rest through Clause 36 of the principle act which lays provisions for the ‘Denotification of a terrorist organization or Individual’ under which an application may be made by the Organization or Individual to the review committee.

The provisions of the law are contemporary and in consonance with the United Nations Policy and Security Council Resolutions to fight terrorist activities in various forms. This move by the Indian state reflects the firm view to fight terrorism and its proponents at macro cosmic and microcosmic levels.

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