Govt for dialogue as chorus grows against NCTC

On a day when the Centre expressed its willingness for a dialogue on the NCTC, another key ally has spoken out against the anti-terror body.

Updated: Feb 21, 2012, 14:36 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

Lucknow/Srinagar: On a day when the Centre expressed its willingness for a dialogue on the National Counter-Terrorism Council (NCTC), another key ally of the UPA government has spoken out against the anti-terror body.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Tuesday said he has not had any discussion on the matter so far and will give a formal response only at a meeting to be convened by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Omar however said that consultation on the matter was necessary.

Earlier in the day, Union Telecom and HRD Minister Kapil Sibal had said that the government was ready for a dialogue to remove any misgivings or concerns of states opposing the NCTC.

Sibal said each state is already represented in the central council of NCTC
and if there was any misgiving, the Centre would remove it through dialogue.

"If they have any concerns, there is no problem in having a dialogue...If there is any misgivings, no problem, we can have a dialogue but all that is being done by the Central government for counter-terrorism operations," Sibal told reporters.

Omar is the second ally after Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee to have spoken against the NCTC - a pet project of P Chidambaram who took over the reigns of the Home Ministry after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.

Apart from Omar and Mamata, at least 12 other states have voiced concerns about the formation of the body, which they claimed is usurping the powers of states and
disturbing the federal structure.

On Monday, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressing his opposition while his Odisha and Tamil Nadu counterparts Naveen Patnaik and Jayalalithaa sent second letters seeking dialogue between the two sides.

In his letter, Nitish Kumar said the creation of NCTC was highly flawed as it had been created within the Intelligence Bureau, which has no accountability to Parliament.

"Where is the need to create new centres like NCTC with provisions which arbitrarily trample upon existing constitutional safeguards to protect the highly delicate balance of power between the Centre and states," he asked.

In his letter, Patnaik contended that he had no intention of politicising the campaign against terror and his opposition to the manner in which the anti-terror intelligence hub was being set up. He urged the Prime Minister to initiate dialogue with states on the anti-terror intelligence hub.

Jayalalithaa also urged Manmohan Singh to withdraw the Home Ministry`s order on the setting up of anti-terror hub and start consultation process with the states.

The move to set up NCTC has also been opposed by chief ministers of Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Tripura.