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Renewal of NSA provision retrograde: Chidambaram

Kolkata, Jan 18 : Describing the powers given to Delhi Police Commissioner to detain people under the stringent National Security Act as a "retrograde provision" and "repressive" measure, Congress leader P. Chidambaram on Saturday accused the ruling BJP at the Centre of "driving a wedge" between the government and the masses.

"It's a retrograde provision, it's like the British promulgating Rowlatt Act," Chidambaram said after Delhi Lt. Governor Anil Baijal, in a notification dated January 10, gave Delhi Police chief Amulya Patnaik the power to detain people under the stringent National Security Act (NSA) for three months.

"What is the need to notify this Act for Delhi now? So that people can be thrown into prison without charges. Everyday, the BJP-led Government of India resorts to such repressive measures.

"It is like driving a wedge between the government and the people, as also striking at democracy," said the Congress working committee member, calling the move "completely unacceptable, unnecessary".

He said the Lt. Governor was "wrong" in promulgating the order, "presumably at the instance of the Ministry of Home Affairs."

"It is an anti-people and anti-democratic measure," he added.

The notification issued by Delhi Lt. Governor read: "In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (3) of Section 3, read with clause (e) of Section 2 of the National Security Act, 1980, the Lt Governor of NCT of Delhi is pleased to direct that during the period January 19, 2020 to April 18, 2020, the Commissioner of Police, Delhi, may also exercise the powers of detaining authority under sub section (2) of Section 3 of the aforesaid Act."

The notification means that the Delhi Police Commissioner now has the power to detain anybody without any case registered against him or her. However, according to Delhi Police sources, the notification is a "routine exercise" as the Lt Governor reviews the notification after every three months.

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