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Parliament passes POTA Repeal Bill

NEW DELHI, DEC. 9. Parliament tonight passed the Prevention of Terrorism (Repeal) Bill and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill with the Rajya Sabha giving its nod by a voice vote after a marathon debate and a walkout by the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party.

While the Samajwadi Party abstained from voting, the AIADMK opposed the new amendments in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Bill that replaces POTA. Both the Bills were passed by the Lok Sabha on Monday.

In his reply to the discussion on the POTA Repeal Bill, the Union Home Minister, Shivraj Patil, defended the measure. He said the Centre had to strike a balance so that while innocents did not suffer, terrorist activities were contained. He rejected the Opposition charge that the Bill to repeal POTA was brought for political considerations.

"We do not want a draconian law like POTA. On the other hand, we are clear that terrorist activities also have to be curbed, controlled and contained. We have to strike a balance," Mr. Patil said.

Earlier, the debate witnessed another walkout by the BJP which objected to a remark by the Congress member, R.K. Anand. He apologised to the Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Jaswant Singh, for his remarks during the discussion.

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