Prevention and Suppression of Terrorism

Part of Deferred Divisions – in the House of Commons at 7:02 pm on 4th July 2012.

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Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 7:02 pm, 4th July 2012

I acknowledge the Select Committee’s interest. Indeed, I gave evidence to the Committee, and I remember the questions that the right hon. Gentleman asked me during the evidence sessions. The matter is being considered, in relation to the Select Committee’s report and in the context of the recommendation made by the independent reviewer. All I can say is that we will make a further announcement in due course. Unfortunately, I cannot give the right hon. Gentleman a more specific answer now, but I acknowledge the point that he is making, and we will respond to the points made by the Select Committee and by the independent reviewer shortly.

We recognise that proscription is a tough but necessary power. Its effect is that the proscribed organisation is outlawed and unable to operate in the United Kingdom. Proscription makes it a criminal offence for a person to belong to, or invite support for, the proscribed organisation. It is also a criminal offence to arrange a meeting in support of the organisation, or to wear clothing or carry articles in public that could arouse reasonable suspicion that an individual was a member or supporter of the relevant organisation.

Given the wide-ranging impact of proscription, the Home Secretary exercises her power to proscribe an organisation only after thoroughly reviewing all the available relevant information and evidence on that organisation. Having carefully considered all the evidence, she firmly believes that IM is involved in terrorism. Hon. Members will appreciate that I am unable to go into much detail, but I am able to give them the following information. IM is a terrorist organisation based in India. It emerged in 2007. It uses violence in its attempts to achieve its stated objectives of creating an Islamic state in India and of implementing sharia law there.

The organisation has frequently perpetrated attacks on civilian targets, such as markets, with the intention of maximising casualties. In May 2008, for example, a spate of bomb detonations in the city of Jaipur killed 63, and in September last year an explosion outside the high court in Delhi reportedly killed 12 and injured 65. IM has sought to incite sectarian hatred in India by deliberately targeting Hindu places of worship. An example of that was an attack on a prayer ceremony in Varanasi, which killed a child, in December 2010.