Centre faces stiff opposition on NCTC

Manmohan Singh
New Delhi, May 5: The Centre was today faced with stiff opposition from non-UPA Chief Ministers on the issue of proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) who termed it as intrusion in states' powers.

The charge was led by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa which found support from other chief ministers of BJP and opposition ruled states on the proposed central agency.

"Piecemeal approach with disjointed efforts will not lead us to the desired goal. Without comprehensively reviewing our past efforts and actions we would go on creating agencies and organisations and yet fail to achieve the purpose", Modi said during the conference.

Accusing the Centre of changing the "well-defined and constitutionally mandated" boundaries of Centre-state relations, he said there was a disturbing sequence of events in the recent past which revealed "centralist and autocratic mindset that militates against all canons of federalism."

Launching an all-round attack on the Home Ministry headed by her bete noire P Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa alleged that Tamil Nadu was being shown "utter contempt" by the Centre, which did not even send a copy of the order setting up the National Counter-Terrorism Centre. Speaking at the Chief Ministers' conference chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here, the Chief Minister said the proposed NCTC needs a "total overhaul" and suggested setting up of a smaller sub-committee of Chief Ministers.

"The NCTC, as has now been notified, should be kept in abeyance, as already advocated by me in my letter to the Hon'ble Prime Minister earlier, till the sub-committee of Chief Ministers gives its report," Jayalalithaa said. "As a matter of fact, any discussion on NCTC is infructuous as long as the notification of NCTC is in force," Jayalalithaa said. 

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar referred to the Emergency days to say that if such powers are given to a secret intelligence agency of the Central Government, they will remain prone to misuse it against political rivals.

Kumar asked the government to immediately withdraw the NCTC. "One does not have to go far back in history to recall that eminent political leaders were branded as threats to national security and were put behind bars during the Emergency of 1975-77", Kumar said.

He also said that he was disturbed to see the sacrosanct principle of federalism being violated in course of Centre’s anti-terrorism onslaught.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh said, "Our Constitution has cooperation and coordination-based federalism, but with the NCTC notification, I feel that it is being changed into a subordination-based federalism".

He also cited lack of clarity on some of the provisions on the NCTC circulated through an office memorandum by the Home Ministry recently to states.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the NCTC, in its present form, is against the federal structure laid down in the Constitution and demanded that all stakeholders be treated equally as team members for success in fighting terrorism.

"Numerous security analysts have opined that the NCTC under the Intelligence Bureau is prone to political misuse.

This contention appears to be true as NCTC in proposed format is likely to be misused for political purposes.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, said that the body in its present form is not acceptable to his state. "I do appreciate that there is a need for an organisation at the central level to tackle terrorism and left wing extremism. However, the NCTC in its present form is simply not acceptable", he said.


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