In a major legal move against leaders of Pakistan based terror outfits, the central government has issued a notification officially designating Hafiz Saeed (LeT), Maulana Masood Azhar (JeM), Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi (LeT) and Dawood Ibrahim individually as terrorists.
This notification uses Section 35 (1) (a) which was recently introduced into the Unlawful Activities (prevention) Act through an amendment to insert their names as terrorists in the fourth schedule.
Prior to this amendment, there was no Indian law which allowed a specific individual to be designated as a terrorist, and only groups could be proscribed. The parliament had witnessed a heated debate when the government was trying to introduce new provisions into the act.
Home Minister Amit Shah had made a strong pitch for the amendment, stating that if provision to designate individuals as terrorists had previously been in place, then some like Indian Mujahideen founder Yasin Bhatkal would have been arrested much earlier.
Opposition MPs had opposed the bill on several grounds, including possible misuse by the government, prospect of it being used to target minorities, etc.
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