New Delhi, July 18, 2019:

The Rajya Sabha passed a legislation to strengthen the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the country’s primary anti-terror body, through a voice vote on July 17. The Bill was passed after Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s assurances that a stronger NIA would not be misused. Rajya Sabha MP from Assam, Biswajit Daimary, welcoming this move, added that Assam has a long history with the NIA, added that many of cases of related to insurgency in Assam and the Northeast are being presided by the NIA.

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Speaking on the the extension of the NIA’s jurisdiction to foreign countries, he said: “I am hopeful the NIA will be able to check cross-border terrorism and drugs inflow from neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal, or China…it will be of great benefit to the country.”

Addressing the Deputy Speaker, Daimary also stated that the NIA has been able to uncover the reasons behind extremism in the Northeast, and added that the people of the Northeast have their own issues. “Be it to NSCN problem in Nagaland, the ULFA problem in Assam, the NDFB problem of the Bodos, these are all regional issues, and some people have picked up arms for their rebellions, and because of this, terror-like activities are commonplace in places like Assam.”

However, the MP said that the extremism in Northeast and that in other areas, such as the terror attacks, is not the same.

“The Northeastern extremist groups have been birthed because of disagreements with the Government. Which is why the NIA is dealing with the ULFA, NDFB, DSB, and an MLA was killed in Arunachal, these cases realed to insurgency are being dealt with by the NIA”, he said, adding that the interlocutors have not been able to expedite the peace process with these groups.

Daimary said that the simply conducting investigations and putting the extremists behind bars will not solve this issue. “How can we stop this? We should look for a permanent solution to the problem of insurgency in the Northeast. Once we come to a permanent solution, the NIA can focus on other problems in the country. That is all”, he said.

The legislation to strengthen the NIA was first introduced by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on July 8, and aims to empower the anti-terror agency to investigate scheduled offences such as human trafficking; circulation of fake currency; manufacture and sale of prohibited arms; and cyber-terrorism.

It also allows for the creation of special courts to adjudicate such crimes. Besides this, the bill seeks to provide the NIA with jurisdiction over scheduled offences committed outside India, subject to international treaties and the domestic laws of other countries.

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