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Govt working to strengthen anti-terror laws: Rajnath Singh


New Delhi: With terrorists widely using social media for their propaganda and new threats emerging, Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday said the NDA government is working on strengthening the anti-terror laws and providing legal protection for under cover operations.

Addressing the ‘national conference on investigating agencies’, the Home Minister said the government is committed to punishing terrorists and is working to strengthen the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act. “We are considering legal protection for undercover operation, use of intelligence collected as evidence and entire gamut of issues relevant to combating terrorism,” he said.

Singh said due to widespread use of social media by terrorists, new threats have been emerging in the country.

“To face these challenges, the present capabilities of specialised organisations like Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN), Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) need to be strengthened,” he said. The Home Minister said that the government is also examining enactment of Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act to provide legal sanction for evidence obtained through Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties and remove doubts about admissibility of such evidence.

Singh said the central government is committed to empowerment and development of Dalits and has created an atmosphere where the community can approach police without hesitation if they are victimised. The NDA government has strengthened Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act by amending it in 2014 and adding a new category of offences, he said. The Home Minister said the government has taken various steps to improve the quality of investigation and has revamped the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network Systems (CCTNS) project for complete computerization of the working of police and extended it to court, jail, prosecution and forensic laboratories.

On the issue of women safety, he said the government is concerned about crimes against women. To investigate crime against women, dedicated Investigative Units on Crime against Women (IUCAW) are being established in 564 districts of India. He said that in these units, one-third of investigators will be women and funds will be made available by central and state governments on 50-50 partnership basis.

The Home Minister said the central government will spend Rs 324 crore in next two years on these units.

Singh said investigation agencies are facing many challenges and hoped that the conference would be an opportunity to discuss ways to overcome them. The Home Minister noted that as per the National Crime Records Bureau, the conviction rate is very low and that is why quality of investigation is crucial in ensuring justice for the victims. He said the thrust should be on improving investigation at police station level.

“Apart from the quality of investigation at police station level, we also have to ensure proper courtesy to the victims and witnesses,” he said. Singh said convenience of victims and witnesses must be taken into account when calling them for investigation. He also said that the victims should be kept informed about the progress of investigation from time to time.

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