PM writes to seven CMs opposing national anti-terror body

By: | Updated: 21 Feb 2012 09:26 AM

The prime minister has written to the seven chief ministers
addressing their concerns about the NCTC. Manmohan Singh in his
communication said the NCTC has been located within the IB and is not a
separate organisation. The communication has been sent to the chief
ministers of Tripura, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Gujarat, West Bengal, Bihar and
Madhya Pradesh.

The text of the prime minister's letter is as follows:
"As you
may be aware, the idea of such a centre has been under consideration by
Government since the Group of Ministers report of 2001 suggested a Joint
Task Force on Intelligence and the report was accepted by the Government
of the day. It was also suggested by the Second Administrative Reforms
Commission that a National Centre for Counter Terrorism be established.

In forming the NCTC, it is not the Government's intent in any way to
affect the basic features of the Constitutional provisions and allocation
of powers between the States and the Union. The primary purpose of the
NCTC is to coordinate counter-terrorism efforts throughout the country, as
the IB has been doing so far. It is for this reason that the NCTC has been
located within the IB and not as a separate organization.

I have, however, noted your concerns about the manner in which the NCTC
will function and am asking the Home Minister to address them suitably, in
consultation with you and other Chief Ministers."

We are ready for dialogue: Kapil Sibal
The idea to have a
centralised anti-terror agency, which will integrate and analyse inputs on
terror threats in India, has been opposed to not only by the opposition
ruled states but also by West Bengal governed jointly by the Trinamool
Congress and the Congress.

Earlier, IT and communication minister Kapil Sibal told reporters in
Lucknow that the government was ready for a dialogue on the issue.

"If they (state chief ministers) have any concerns, there is no problem in
having a dialogue...If there is any misgiving, no problem, we can have a
dialogue," Sibal said.

The opposition to the NCTC has grown with at least 13 chief ministers
voicing concerns about it because it has powers that they say will
infringe on the rights of states, affecting the country's federal

The agency, which becomes functional on March 1, has the power to make
arrests or searches in terrorism-hit states without seeking permission
from their governments.

On Tuesday, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah, the latest to
demand talks on the raging row, did not speak for or against the NCTC but
said there has been no consultation with state government over it.

"There has been no discussion between state government and the central
government on the issue of NCTC," Abdullah told reporters at an official
function in a Kashmir village.

Asked if he favoured or opposed the government move to create an
anti-terror intelligence hub under the union home ministry, Abdullah, who
rules the state jointly with the Congress, said he wouldn't share his
views publicly.

Sibal in Lucknow said state governments would be represented by regional
centers of the NCTC.

"There is a central council of NCTC. The director and three joint
directors of NCTC and the heads of the anti-terrorist organisations or
forces of each states are represented in it. Each state is represented.
And they look after the overall activities of the NCTC. So this is the
rationale of moving forward," he said.

He said the counter-terror powers that were with the central government
have been given to the agency and there was no new law that would usurp
the powers of states and disturb the federal structure.

Also read: CMs
load federal gun on NCTC, Centre firm

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First Published: 21 Feb 2012 09:26 AM
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