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New anti-terrorism law called for in India after attack on religious site

[JURIST] Indian opposition leader Lal Krishna Advani [BBC profile] criticized the Indian government Friday for repealing the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) [text], saying that such legislation was necessary to prevent incidents like a Tuesday attack on a religious site in northern India [BBC report] that is disputed between Hindus and Muslims [BBC backgrounder]. In a move that was welcomed by human rights groups [Human Rights Watch press release], the Indian Parliament last year approved the repeal of the bill [The Hindu report], which had been adopted soon after 9/11 and had broadened the scope of the death penalty and the state's ability to detain and interrogate suspects. Responding for the Indian government, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil [Wikipedia profile] stated "We do not want a draconian law like POTA. On the other hand, we are clear that terrorist activities also have to be curbed, controlled and contained. We have to strike a balance." According to Advani, "A special law is required to deal with terrorism" and "The only country where the government has removed [such a law] is India." BBC News has more.

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