New Delhi: Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday described the National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC) as “an absolute necessity to fight terrorism”.
Speaking in Lok Sabha during the Question Hour, Chidambaram said the anti-terror body does not violate the federal structure.
The remarks came a day after non-Congress states opposed formation of the NCTC, saying that it will infringe upon the duties of the state police forces.
Representatives from Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Bihar voiced their concerns at the high-level meeting chaired by Home Secretary RK Singh in which state chief secretaries, home secretaries and police chiefs were also present.
The Home Minister told Lok Sabha today that a number of states supported the NCTC at yesterday’s meeting.
Even those who opposed the NCTC were against only certain aspects of the body, he added.
According to sources, the states at yesterday’s meet opposed the formation of the NCTC on the ground that the role of state police would be minimised in counter-terror operations.
States’ representatives said that the Intelligence Bureau was already performing the job and there was no need to give power of arrest as proposed in the new counter-terror unit.
Over a dozen chief ministers have opposed the creation of the NCTC, maintaining that it would hurt the federal structure of the country.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha have asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to convene a meeting of chief ministers to discuss the issue.
In the wake of strong protests by non-Congress chief ministers, the Centre has put on hold the operationalisation of the NCTC from March 1 and has decided to discuss the issue with the state governments.
In a letter to 10 chief ministers, Home Minister P Chidambaram had assured them that the "next steps" on the NCTC would be taken only after the meeting of top officials of the states.