New Delhi: The Home Ministry has postponed
a meeting of top police and civil officials of all states
scheduled for March 9 to end the logjam on NCTC and it will
now be held on March 12.
The meeting of the Chief Secretaries, Directors General of
Police, state Home Secretaries and Chiefs of state Anti-Terror
Squads was convened by the Union Home Secretary to discuss in
detail the scope and functions of the NCTC.
Home Ministry officials said the decision to rescheduled
the conference to March 12 has been taken following requests
from several states that due to Holi festival and a long
week-end, many of the officials would not be able to attend
Some of them also conveyed their inability to attend the
crucial meeting on March 9 citing the short notice given to
them and pre-schduled engagements.
In the wake of strong protests by non-Congress Chief
Ministers, the Centre has put on hold the operationalisation
of the National Counter Terrorism Centre from March 1 and
decided to discuss with the state governments before going
ahead with the plan.
In his letter to 10 Chief Ministers, Home Minister P
Chidambaram had assured that the "next steps" on NCTC will be
taken only after the meeting of the top officials of the
The Home Ministry officials are expected to allay the
apprehensions of the states which said empowering NCTC
with Section 43 (A) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention)
Act would infringe on the state`s powers. Section 43(A) of
UA(P)A gives an officer power to arrest and search.
Chidambaram had said the powers conferred under Section
43(A) of the UA(P) Act must be read with the duty under
Section 43 (B) to produce the person or article without
unnecessary delay before the nearest police station (which
will be under the state government), and the SHO of the police
station will take further action in accordance with the
provisions of the CrPC.
"I am confident that this meeting will find a way
forward. My note (sent to the Chief Ministers) is self
explanatory. I think the note should, I believe, have allayed
many of the apprehensions including apprehensions of a section
of the media and therefore let us hope that the meeting
convened by the HS will find a way forward," he had said.
However, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who
spearheaded protests by over a dozen Chief Ministers on the
issue of setting up of NCTC on the ground that it would erode
states` powers, in his third letter on NCTC to Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh opposed the government calling the meeting of
top state officials.
"It is imperative that instead of a meeting chaired by
the Union Home Secretary, an immediate meeting of Chief
Ministers may be called by you to address the concerns of the
states on this very urgent matter regarding the security of
the nation," he told the Prime Minister.