• The Union Home Ministry designated nine more individuals as “terrorists” under the amended anti-terror law that was passed by Parliament last year. The nine persons declared terrorists are linked to separatist Khalistani groups that seek to establish a separate country for the Sikhs.
• The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, or anti-terror law was amended by the Lok Sabha in 2019. This bill empowers to central agencies and states to deal with terrorist activities strictly.
• The Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) was enacted in 1967.
• The 2004 amendment was to ban organisations for terrorist activities, under which 34 outfits, including the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammad, were banned.
• The 2019 amendment gave the Home Ministry the power to designate individuals as terrorists.
• Earlier, in September 2019, the four individuals to be first designated as terrorists were JeM chief Masood Azhar, LeT’s Hafiz Saeed, his deputy Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, who planned and executed the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts.
• The Opposition parties had raised concerns in Parliament that the 2019 amendment could be misused against political opponents and civil society activists.
• However, Home Minister had said in Rajya Sabha that “it was important to identify terrorists and not just organisations”. The designations are also in alignment with laws in European Union (EU) countries, the U.S.A., China, Israel and even Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Mains Paper 2: Polity
Prelims level: Unlawful Activities Prevention Act
Mains level: About the act and its ruling