Assam gets more teeth to curb terror

GUWAHATI: Stung by frequent terror attacks, the assembly on Saturday passed the Assam Preventive Detention (Amendment) Bill, 2009, allowing the government to detain any person for two years if he or she poses a threat to security.

The amendment was made to the Section 13 of the Act framed in 1980. The Act until now allowed preventive detention of a person for only six months. The Bill will be sent to President Pratibha Patil for assent.

Forest minister Rockybul Hussain moved the motion on behalf of chief minister Tarun Gogoi. He said though security forces arrest insurgents, they "manage to get bail and continue with their subversive activities''.

Hussain said the two-year detention period would help police gather evidence against an arrested person. He added that there were enough safeguards in the Bill to prevent human rights violations.

Assam United Democratic Front legislator Athahur Rahman Majar Bhuyan opposed the passage of the Bill saying the six-month detention period was "good enough'' and there was no need for the amendment.

He, however, withdrew his opposition after the state government said the Act would not be misused.

Taking part in the debate, AGP legislator Keshav Mahanta and BJP leader Mission Ranjan Das asked the government to assure the House that there would be no misuse of the Act.