National war needed to deal with terrorism: ARC chairman

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New Delhi, Sep 16 (UNI) Calling for a comprehensive and effective legal framework to deal with terror, along with a federal agency to investigate such acts, the second Administrative Reforms Committee (ARC) has advocated amending of the present National Security Act (NSA) to tackle the menace in the country.

While stressing that MCOCA, POTA and the like were not the panacea against terror activities, ARC chairman Veerappa Moily today told the media that fresh terror laws, with adequate safeguards, were the need of the hour to effectively combat and deal with terrorism in the country.

''A comprehensive and holistic law, that includes enough safeguards to prevent its misuse, would be a good bulwark against terrorism,'' he said.

Seeking a separate chapter in the NSA that contained legal provisions to handle terrorism, Mr Moily said political parties must arrive at a consensus on the strategy to deal with the menace, rising above petty issues.

''Though accountability is the most critical component in the fight against terror, good governance, respect for law, defeating subversion, and building capacity -- intelligence, security and administration -- were mandatory to win this war,'' he said.

While advocating a separate federal agency to probe terror activities, the ARC chairman said creation of a specialised division in the CBI, staffed by competent people with proven integrity and expertise needea to be looked into.

''And most importantly, the autonomy and independence of this agency should be upheld through laid down procedures for appointment and fixed tenures,'' he stressed.

Provision for exclusive special fast track courts needed to be incorporated in the law on terrorism which could speed up trails and infuse a sense of confidence in the governing agency, he explained.

''Simply speaking present laws need to be tightened and moulded, a bit fine-tuned, to deal with terrorism,'' said Mr Moily adding that the present report was only complementary to existing laws and by no means implied that they were useless.

We must fight terror wherever it existed, because terrorism anywhere threatened democracy anywhere, he said summing up the eighth report of the ARC while adding that democracies provide legitimate means to express dissent and for this very reason we could not afford to be soft on terror.

Terrorism exploited the freedom our open societies provided to destroy our freedom, he said quoting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

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