New Delhi: After being attacked by Chief Ministers belonging to both the Opposition and the allies on the setting up of the National Counter Terrorism Centre, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh finally stepped in on Tuesday to resolve the matter, explaining the government’s position on the issue.
In his letter to the CMs brigade led by Naveen Patnaik and Mamata Banerjee who have raised concerns regarding the federal structure, the PM said, “Primary purpose of NCTC is to coordinate counter-terrorism efforts across the country as the IB has been doing so far. It is for this reason that the NCTC has been located within the IB and not as a separate organisation.”
He reassured the CMs that their concerns would be heard saying that he had asked the Home Minister to consult with them.
"In forming the NCTC (National Centre for Counter
Terrorism), it is not the government`s intent in any way to
affect the basic features of the Constitutional provisions and
allocation of powers between the States and the Union.
Singh wrote to Chief Ministers of Tripura, Tamil Nadu,
Odisha, Gujarat, West Bengal, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, who
all had expressed apprehensions that the Centre`s decision to
set up NCTC would strike at the federal nature of the
Constitution and erode the states` powers.
The Prime Minister recalled that the idea of NCTC has been
under consideration by government since the Group of Ministers
report of 2001 suggested a Joint Task Force on Intelligence
and the report was accepted by the government of the day.
Meanwhile, Opposition parties today kicked up further row on the Centre`s decision to set up an anti-terror body asking a parliamentary committee to recommend that it be put on hold.
The opposition to setting up of the NCTC, a brain child of Home Minister P Chidambaram, came at a meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, on a day when a Congress ally National Conference appeared to express its reservations over the move.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah appeared to be having reservations though he did not spell them out.
"There has been no discussion between state government and the central government on the issue of NCTC. I do not think it would be appropriate as Chief Minister for me to publicly comment about it, before I privately share the feelings of the state government with the Union government on this crucial issue," Omar told reporters near Srinagar.
The Centre has been under scathing attack from a host of CMs on the contentious issue and has been accused of taking a ‘unilateral’ decision on the matter. The CMs of Orissa, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Bihar, Gujarat, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Tripura and Uttarakhand opposed the creation of NCTC saying that it infringed on the states’ domain.
The move was led by the CM of Orissa and soon it became a chain reaction. The NCTC is expected to be operational on March 1.
With PTI inputs