Rajya Sabha member withdraws bill to declare countries as terror sponsors
Rajya Sabha member withdraws bill to declare countries as terror sponsors

New Delhi: A bill moved by an independent Rajya Sabha member was withdrawn in the upper house on Friday after a two-and-a-half hour discussion as the government said "it cannot be supported as it could have long-term impact".

The Declaration of Countries as Sponsor of Terrorism Bill, 2016, was moved by Rajeev Chandrasekhar, representing Karnataka in the Rajya Sabha, on February 3, and got wide appreciation from members cutting across party lines.

Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir said: "We know India has been facing terror menace for a long time from across the border and it takes up the issue in every international forum from time to time."

"The bill cannot be passed as it could have long-term impact and we must prepare (for the same) before taking up such a bill," he said, requesting Chandrasekhar to withdraw it.

Participating in the discussion, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi lauded the spirit behind the bill but said it cannot be supported as "it does not have teeth".

He said the bill was moved with "good intentions" but does not talk about how India punishes the guilty.

The Congress leader said if the member wants the bill to see the light of the day, he must revise and redraft it with more clarity on all related issues.

V. Vijaysai Reddy of the YSR Congress said Pakistan has been practicing a "dual policy" with regard to terrorism and has categorised terrorists as "good or bad terrorists".

"For Pakistan, good terrorists are those who attack Indian interests and bad terrorists are those who harm Pakistani interests," Reddy said.

Subramanian Swamy of the Bharatiya Janata Party supported the bill, saying, "Let's move forward and declare Pakistan a terrorist state."

He said the neighbouring country was benefiting by trade with India and the Most Favoured Nation status must be withdrawn immediately.

Former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh supported the bill and said terror has no face and that "we must take action against it".

Chandrasekhar later tweeted: "4 those disappntd abt withdrawl of bill - dont be! Debate hs startd n govt is fully aware of mood in n outsd parl #DeclarePakATerrorState."