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India parliament approves anti-terrorism measures after Mumbai attacks

[JURIST] India's upper house of parliament the Rajya Sabha [official website] on Thursday approved two anti-terrorism bills in response to the recent Mumbai terror attacks [BBC backgrounder]. One bill, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Amendment of 2008 (UAPA) [legislative materials] will allow the government to hold terrorism suspects for up to 180 days, and the other bill will set up a National Investigation Agency to conduct anti-terror probes. Proponents of the UAPA have said that there are safeguards in place [Hindustan Times report] to make sure that the new law is not misused. India's lower house the Lok Sabha [official website] approved the legislation on Wednesday. The bills must now be signed by Indian President Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil [official website] before they take effect.

The attacks in Mumbai, which claimed at least 170 lives, were carried out at ten locations across the city, including the landmark Taj Mahal Palace hotel [hotel website]. In the wake of the attacks, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [official website] pushed for tougher anti-terrorism measures [JURIST report].

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