M A I N   N E W S

Not a Centre-vs-States issue, says PM 
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 5
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram made an attempt to assuage states’ concerns over setting up of the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) as both pitched in for an anti-terror body.

They used expressions like “centre-state relations”, “shared responsibility”, “closest cooperation” along with the explanations as to how the NCTC was “an important pillar of the security architecture” in an attempt to get the states to agree on the concept of the NCTC. There as no immediate breakthrough though.

The PM was candid saying, “We would like the state governments to be with us in this important initiative. This would strengthen our counter-terrorism efforts.”

The PM, possibly to ward off charges made by CMs that the state were being ignored in the decision making process, said “the government was open to the suggestions of chief ministers. We would like to benefit from their vast knowledge, wisdom and experience…For the NCTC to function smoothly and effectively, it is very important that we have a fairly broad consensus on its powers and its functions.”

“It is not our government's intention in any way to affect the distribution of powers between the states and the Union. The establishment of the NCTC is not a State-versus-Centre issue. The primary purpose behind setting up the National Counter Terrorism Centre is to coordinate counter-terrorism efforts which the Intelligence Bureau (IB) has been doing so far”, the Prime Minister said.

Asking the states to join hands with the Centre on the issue, the PM said, “The NCTC should be a vehicle of our combined efforts”. There can be no disagreement on putting in place an effective counter-terrorism regime with efficient mechanism and response systems both at the national level and at the state level, the PM said adding “Neither the states nor the Centre can fulfil the task alone”.

In its design and its operational aspects, it (the NCTC) will supplement the counter-terrorism capabilities of the states and not supplant them, the PM said. “Closest cooperation is, therefore, necessary to meet the threats”, he added.

The Home Minister, who has been facing flak from the CMs, termed the NCTC an “important pillar of the new security architecture”. Chidambaram reiterated his stance saying “under the Constitution of India, countering terrorism is a shared responsibility of the Central Government.”

To tackle terrorists in several countries and have the capacity to commit terrorist acts across borders or boundaries, technology is the key weapon.

Tackling the issue of making the NCTC the ‘Designated Authority’ under section 2(e) of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), 1967, the Home Minister said “I would welcome it if states designate their Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) as the Designated Authority.” The designated authority would have the power to arrest and the power to search.





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