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Death for hijackers, says new anti-hijacking law

Death for hijackers, says new anti-hijacking law
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Hijackers will be given capital punishment in case of death of "any person", says the new law which also mandates the Centre to hand over the probe of such an offence to NIA.

The term "any person" has been expanded in the new law, cleared by President Pranab Mukherjee, to include the death of "security personnel on board" or "ground support staff"as well.

In the old Act, hijackers could be tried for the death penalty only in the event of the death of hostages, such as flight crew, passengers and security personnel.

In other cases of hijacking, the guilty will be punished with imprisonment for life and fine, besides confiscation of movable and immovable property held by him or her.

The Anti-Hijacking Act 2016 has received the Presidential assent on Friday, according to a notification issued on Monday.

A bill to repeal 1982's Anti-Hijacking Act and carrying changes were introduced in Rajya Sabha by Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju on December 17, 2014. It was referred to a Parliamentary panel in December that year which gave its report in March last year. The bill was passed on May 4, this year in the Upper House, and on May 9 in Lok Sabha.

The 2016 Anti-Hijacking Act, which has come into effect after its notification includes several acts within the definition of hijacking including making a threat, attempts or abetment to commit the offence. Those organises or directs others to commit such offence will also be considered to have committed the offence of hijacking.

The new law mandates the Central government to confer powers of investigation, arrest and prosecution on any officer of the Central government or National Investigation Agency (NIA).

India has witnessed 19 hijacking incidents. The new law has repealed the Anti-Hijacking Act, 1982 with few conditions. 

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