Sunday, November 18, 2001, Chandigarh, India





National Capital Region--Delhi

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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Govt pleads for POTO
PM for debate
Tribune News Service

Union Home Minister L. K. Advani presenting a bouquet to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee
Union Home Minister L. K. Advani presenting a bouquet to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, while Law Minister Arun Jatily and Defence Minister George Fernandes look on at the Conference of Chief Ministers on Internal Security in New Delhi on Saturday. — PTI photo

New Delhi, November 17
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today sought a “free and frank” debate on the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO) and stressed for the setting up of a federal agency to pursue and combat cases of terrorism in the country.

“We have held consultations with State Governments and the Law Commission before promulgating POTO and we have taken care to remove the shortcomings in TADA, which lapsed some years ago without a successor anti-terrorism law,” Mr Vajpayee said inaugurating a daylong Conference of Chief Ministers on Internal Security here at Vigyan Bhavan.

The Prime Minister regretted “enormous delays” in trials due to huge pendency of cases and said the inefficiency in the criminal justice administration system led to criminals committing further crimes with impunity and erosion of people’s faith in the rule of law. This basic lacuna in our law enforcement system needs to be addressed squarely and quickly.”

Observing that the Centre had come across a number of cases where conspiracies for terrorist action had spread across a number of states, Mr Vajpayee said “although discussions on this were initiated a year back, we do not as yet have any agency in place, which can take on and pursue such cases on its own.

“Until we have such a federal agency, the key to success will be cooperation and timely exchange of intelligence between the Centre and the states and among states themselves,” he said.

Mr Vajpayee asked the state governments to strengthen their own efforts to fight militancy and effectively implement all developmental policies and programmes.

Delivering his address, Home Minister L.K. Advani asserted that POTO was a “comprehensive legislation” against terrorism taking cognisance of terrorist act, terrorist organisations and financing of terrorism.
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