‘Why Is Opposition Called Anti-National?’ Asks Mahua Moitra in LS

Moitra was arguing against the amendments to the UAPA Bill. The amendments were passed in the LS today.

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During a debate on the UAPA Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha, TMC MP Mahua Moitra argued how the amendments in the Bill are dangerous since they seek to designate individuals as terrorists. In a fiery speech in the Lok Sabha, the first-time MP said:

“Why are we in the Opposition always at the risk of being called anti-national when we disagree with this government on issues of national security, law & order or policing? Every time we disagree with this government, its troll armies, its propaganda machine works overtime to call us terrorist sympathisers, to call us ‘sickular, to call us ‘anti-national’?”

These comments led to protests in the Treasury benches in the Lok Sabha, with BJP MP SS Ahluwalia demanding proof for Moitra's statement on "troll armies." Taking cognisance of the point of order, BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi who was chairing the session at the time, read out the rules to Moitra.

She said that according to the rules, "No allegation of a defamatory or incriminatory nature shall be made by a member against a person unless the member has given adequate notice to the Speaker and also the minister concerned..."

However, Mahua Moitra refused to take back her statement, and proceeded to highlight two amendments in the proposed bill which she called dangerous. One, Clause 5, Section 25 of the Bill which states that the NIA is able to go to any state and to arrest, seize and search properties without the permission of the state DGP or the knowledge of the state DGP. Moitra argued that this amendment is "completely against the federal structure of the country."

Two, Moitra argued that Clause 5, Section 35 of the Bill seeks to "designate individuals as terrorists." She argued that this amendment creates a "different test of who is a terrorist."

However, despite Mahua Moitra's protests, the amendments to the bill were passed in the Lok Sabha.

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