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Modi, Jaya slam Centre at internal security meet

NEW DELHI: Non-Congress Chief Ministers, who are opposed to setting up of the National Counter-Terrorism Centre, on Monday attacked the Centre for its "non-consultative" approach and showing "scant respect" for state governments.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa on Monday warned against an "emerging pattern" wherein the state's powers are "abrogated" by the Centre through passage of bills and accused it of showing "scant respect" for state governments.

In an all-round attack on the Congress-led UPA, Jayalalithaa accused the Central government of "encroaching on state powers" through the National Counter-Terrorism Centre which was in "contravention" to Constitutional provisions that accord priority status to police in the state list.

Addressing the Chief Ministers' conference on internal security here, she claimed that the Centre unilaterally decided on the Indo-US joint naval exercise in the Bay of Bengal without taking the state government into confidence.

"Lack of consultation with the states and failure to take the states into confidence is a cogent commentary on the system of governance in the Centre.

"...This is not all. Adding insult to injury, the Central government did not permit the Consul-General of the US Consulate, Chennai, and senior Indian Navy officials based in Chennai to meet me as the Constitutional head of the government," she said.

Jayalalithaa, who is opposed to the NCTC, said this implies that the Central government has "scant respect" for constitutionally-elected state governments.

She also expressed the hope that the Centre follow the principle of prior consultation with the state governments, whenever such important decisions are taken by the Central government.

“No doubt, it is a pre-arranged exercise according to the prescribed tenets under covenant between two countries. Even so, is it too much to expect to be kept informed?" she asked

Meanwhile, slamming the Centre for recent controversies involving the Army, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said tensions between the civil and military wings were bound to adversely impact the internal security of the country.

Speaking at the Chief Ministers' conference on internal security, Modi said, "It is unfortunate that the present Union government has failed to instil faith and confidence about our defence preparedness in the common man".

Modi said the internal security of the country cannot be viewed in isolation as it is intertwined with the external security scenario and the armed forces play an important role in anti-infiltration and anti-insurgency which directly impinges on the internal security of the nation.

"In this context, any lacunae in our defence capabilities on account of resource constraints, demoralisation of the rank and file and tensions between the civil and military wings is bound to have an adverse impact on the internal security of the nation," he said.

The Chief Minister said the Centre should take proactive steps "to clear the fog of mistrust and suspicion" that has arisen on account of the "recent unseemly controversy" and not "remain content with mere issuance of statements".

Criticising the Centre for its "non-consultative" approach with state governments on key security issues, Modi said the centre is creating "state within state" by amending RPF Act, BSF Act which take away powers from state police and meddling with subjects under the state list.

He said politicisation of central agencies, including the CBI, is increasing and they are used to harass and victimise political rivals of the ruling party at the Centre.

"This approach has gravely compromised the credibility of agencies like CBI and is a matter of concern since these agencies are also involved in internal security matters," he said.

Modi questioned the claims made by the Centre that 97 per cent of intelligence inputs are being generated by Central agencies and only 3 per cent of Multi-Agency Centre inputs come from state agencies, which in turn take commensurate responsibility of information they disseminate.

He said the such statements would only serve to belittle the efforts of numerous state personnel who are foot soldiers for homeland security.

"I would strongly urge that a panel of experts should review the parameters for arriving at such figures. The review should culminate in a comprehensive White Paper that will look at the modalities of intelligence gathering and sharing and lay down appropriate norms," he said.

Modi said the Centre is meting out "injustice" to young aspirants through its "callous approach" in the matter of Limited Competitive Examination, which seeks to address severe shortfalls in the IPS cadre by inducting officers of the armed and paramilitary forces.

"It is noteworthy that the Union government has even disregarded the advice of a constitutional body like the UPSC on this issue," he said advocating a systematic increase in the annual intake of IPS officers rather than resorting to ad hoc arrangements.

Modi reiterated his earlier call to set up an All-India Intelligence Service on the lines of All-India Services to upgrade the quality of our intelligence wings.

The Chief Minister pointed out that the government should not ignore states which are peaceful and currently not affected by the menace of Naxalism.

He said the Centre has no proactive strategy for safeguarding vulnerable offshore installations like Single-Point Moorings. Modi said in spite of being assured on locating a regional hub of National Security Guards (NSG) in Gujarat during the Chief Ministers’ conference in 2009, no such centre has been set up in the state even after three year. — PTI




Pak-based Haqqani group behind Kabul attacks: Afghan minister

KABUL: The Pakistan-based Haqqani network is suspected to have carried out the brazen suicide attacks on western embassies and Parliament here, the Afghan interior minister has said.

Bismillah Mohammadi said that one of the militants arrested during the latest attacks on the Afghan capital and three other cities had told the authorities that al-Qaeda linked Haqqani network was behind the assaults.

The minister told reporters that 36 militants and eight members of the Afghan security forces had been killed in the 18-hour operation to flush out the holed-up militants.

The involvement of the Haqqani network, Mohammadi said, was corroborated by another militant caught in Nangarhar Province.

Western officials also said that the attacks bore the hallmarks of the Haqqani network, which has focus on attacks against high-profile Afghan government and foreign targets.

New York Times quoting the officials said that the network based in Pakistan was a source of tension between Washington and Islamabad.

The Haqqani network, officials said, have now become the focus of American military effort.

The Haqqani network was directly involved in one of the last major attacks in Kabul - an assault on the American embassy in September, and the paper said that the incident also involved militants raining down rockets and gunfire from an unfinished building nearby.

"This does have all the hallmarks of the Haqqanis on it," said Colonel Daniel J W King, spokesman for the Nato. "It is been over 150 days since the Haqqanis launched a successful attack on Kabul, they have to do this if they are going to have any credibility."

The US Ambassador in Kabul Ryan C Crocker told CNN that the attacks like this strengthened the case for Americans staying until the Afghans were fully ready to handle the situation on their own.

Admitting that Taliban still retained control of some areas in eastern Afghanistan, Crocker said, "There is a very dangerous enemy out there with capabilities and with safe havens in Pakistan."

"To get out before the Afghans have a full grip on security, which is couple of years out, would be to invite the Taliban, Haqqani and al-Qaeda back in and set the stage for another 9/11. And that, I think, is an unacceptable risk for any American," the Ambassador said. — PTIBack



1 dead, many trapped in Jalandhar building collapse

Jalandhar: Several workers are trapped under debris after a four-storeyed factory building collapsed in Punjab’s Jalandhar city, 150 km from state capital Chandigarh. One is feared dead according to media reports. Police said that the building of the blanket manufacturing factory, located in the city's Focal Point area, collapsed following a blast in the factory's boiler around midnight on Sunday. Over 70 workers were inside the factory — Sheetal Fibres — when the building collapsed.

Over 45 workers had been rescued till Monday morning. Many of them had injuries and thus admitted to hospitals here for treatment, said deputy commissioner Priyank Bharti. Initial rescue efforts were hampered by the location of the factory being in a congested area and due to darkness.A worker, with serious injuries, was rescued from the debris, officials said. 

Rescue teams of the district administration were trying to rescue the remaining trapped workers. The rescue work was being carried out by personnel of the fire brigade and police. The district administration has sought the help from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the Army for rescue and relief operations. However, the NDRF team was yet to reach the collapse site Monday morning (at 7 a.m.)




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