PM,HM assurance fails to break ice
Not Centre V/s States Issue: Manmohan
New Delhi, May 5: Divided opinion and varying perceptions led to a disagreement on the Centre’s plan to set up a National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) at the specially held Chief Ministers’ conference here on Saturday. This was despite both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P Chidambaram appealing to the CMs for a broader consensus on the issue of setting up the anti-terror hub.
Inaugurating the conference PM assured the CMs that the Centre has no intention to disturb the existing constitutional provisions on the distribution of powers between the Centre and the states. “The establishment of the NCTC is not a State versus Centre issue. The primary purpose behind it is to coordinate counter-terrorism efforts throughout this vast country, as the Intelligence Bureau (IB) has been doing so far. The NCTC should be a vehicle of our combined efforts to reach the shared goal of curbing terrorism and eradicating militancy,” he said.
While two non-Congress CMs namely Naredra Modi and J Jayalalitha outrightly rejected the plea, they were also joined by Trinamool Congress leader and West Bengal CM, Mamata Banerjee, an UPA ally. Significantly, opposition BJP leader and Chief Minister of central India's Chhattisgarh state Raman Singh said they would support NCTC if their suggestions are incorporated and NCTC is suitably amended.
Chidambaram, the prime mover of the NCTC proposal, said terrorists do not recognize boundaries and the Centre and State governments have to work together to make the country safe and secure. “We have to work together. With State Governments and the Central Government working together, the Opposition and the Treasury working together, civil society organizations and Government institutions working together I am confident we can make the country more safe and more secure,” he added.
He pointed out that there are cases where, despite inputs regarding the presence of terrorists, the security agencies concerned did not act either due to lack of capacity or lack of a timely decision.
UPA constituent Mamata Banerjee outrightly rejected the NCTC saying it was not required. She said setting up of institutions like NCTC with the proposed powers of arrest and seizure upsets the federal structure of the country and strongly urged the central government to withdraw order on its formation as it was "not acceptable" to the states.
Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi accused the Centre of changing the "well-defined and constitutionally mandated” boundaries of Centre-state relations and said there was a disturbing sequence of events in the recent past which revealed "centralists and autocratic mindset that militates against all canons of federalism”.
Opposing the NCTC tooth and nail, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa accused the Centre of taking the country towards "autocracy" and demanded that a Sub-Committee of Chief Ministers be set up to go into the proposed body till then it should be kept in "abeyance”.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said no democratic country has given wide ranging powers to their secret intelligence agencies and similarly the NCTC should not be a part of the Intelligence Bureau.
Akhilesh Yadav of Uttar Pradesh, whose Samajwadi Party also supports the central government, said the agency was unacceptable in its "present form" because "misuse of clauses (in NCTC) cannot be ruled out”.
Even Congress leader and Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had certain reservations with the NCTC.
“I support the NCTC but with special conditions. The Centre has to take state government into confidence. There have to be joint operations. Even with the army we have been stressing on joint operations,” he told reporters.
He maintained that there is mistrust between the Centre and the states.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 5 May 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 5 May 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 6 May 2012 00:00:00 IST
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