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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.

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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