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Legal experts warn against India's new anti-terrorist laws

Anti-terrorist laws imposed on the troubled northern state of Punjab last week by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi threaten to undermine basic freedoms in the world's largest democracy, legal experts warn.

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The ''Terrorist Affected Areas Ordinance'' gives officials almost complete authority to arrest, prosecute and convict a suspected terrorist behind a veil of secrecy.

The act is the most severe of several passed since the Indian army stormed the Golden Temple in Amritsar on June 6 to oust militant Sikhs taking refuge in the shrine. Hundreds died in the assault.

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