NCTC: Chief Secys, DGPs to meet on March 9

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - 23:00

New Delhi: The Centre on Wednesday convened a
high-level meeting on March 9 on the NCTC hoping it will find
a way forward on the controversial issue but fresh road-blocks
appeared with Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik opposing
the conference of top state officials.

Addressing a press conference, Home Minister P
Chidambaram said the Home Secretary has convened a meeting of
Chief Secretaries, Directors General of Police, Chiefs of
state Anti-Terror Squads to allay the apprehensions on the
counter-terror body.

"I am confident that this meeting will find a way
forward. My note 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 Home Secretary will find
a way forward," he said.

Asked whether he would be conducting a similar exercise
by meeting Chief Ministers of various states, he said this
would depend upon the meeting that is being convened.

"All I said in my letter is that before we take the next
step I have asked the Home Secretary to call a meeting...so
let`s wait for the meeting," he said.

Patnaik, who spearheaded protests by over a dozen Chief
Ministers on the issue of setting up of National Counter
Terrorism Centre on the ground that it would erode states`
powers, today wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh opposing
the government calling the meeting of top state officials.

"I am disappointed to find, Sir, that a meeting has
been called by the Union Home Secretary with state directors
general of police (DGPs)," Patnaik wrote to the Prime
Minister.

Maintaining that the NCTC issue was raised by several
Chief Ministers including himself, Patnaik said: "The matter
relates to national security, terrorism and extremism which
require deliberation with us at the highest level. All of us
know about the effects of terrorism, the clear examples of
which are attacks in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangaluru.

"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 said.

Referring to the letter to him on February 21 on the
functions of the NCTC, Patnaik said that the Prime Minister
had assured that the Union Home Minister would suitably
address the issues raised by Chief Ministers.

"I have now received a letter dated 24th February,
2012 from the Union Home Minister saying that the Home
Secretary, Government of India, will call a meeting of DGPs
and other concerned officers of the state governments to
discuss the functions of NCTC," he said.

Facing a barrage of questions over the opposition from
various state governments, Chidambaram said that he has been
patient since November 2009 when the anti-terror body was
conceptualised.

"I am a very patient man, I have been patient since
November, 2009 and I am willing to be patient for some more
time," he said.

Replying to a question as to how long he would be
patient, he quipped "as long as it is necessary".

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - 17:08

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