Accusing the Centre of treating states as though they were adversaries instead of partners, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister said the Centre was trying to set up the National Counter Terrorism Centre by stealth rather than in the spirit of cooperation and transparency and in partnership with the states.
She also said the full contours of how the NCTC proposes to counter terrorism have still not been shared with the state governments.
“The turf war between the Intelligence Bureau and the Centre’s own agencies like R&AW and Directorate General of Military Intelligence are only too well known. Creating a further layer of contradictions through a dysfunctional structure would be counter-productive,” her speech read. States also raised serious concern over the Centre’s attempt to overstretch its executive power to create institutions through the backdoor channel instead of going through a motion of law. This further widened the rift between the Centre and state governments. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, while flagging several serious flaws in the proposed institution, asked the Centre to bring legislation in Parliament to clear NCTC, which will ensure a wider debate over contentious issues.Kumar suggested that the better option would be to strengthen and develop the National Investigation Agency rather than create another organisation. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said some changes were made given the strong views of non-Congress CMs but all the issues have still not been addressed. Patnaik said that federal rights of the states should be respected and no direct or indirect interference in the autonomy of the states shall be tolerated.
Modi V Centre
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi launched an offensive against centre for pushing the “poorly conceived idea” - NCTC - instead of strengthening existing agencies. He said the proposed NCTC would just be another superstructure in the maze of institutions. In a pointed remark, Modi said the NCTC would end be another institution that the Centre can politically misuse against Opposition-ruled states. “The proposed structure of NCTC is not in congruence with the principles of federalism and the clear division of powers between the union and the states as envisaged under the Constitution, as it essentially tries to create a federal police, a concept totally alien to our country,” Modi said.
However, Modi’s stinging criticism did not go down well with P Chidambaram, who called the Opposition of watered down NCTC deeply regrettable. “I am afraid the kind of seriousness that we should give to NCTC is lost. And I deeply regret that a couple of chief ministers opposed the NCTC even in its present modified version. If this NCTC is opposed, I am afraid, as I said the country will pay the price from time to time,” Chidambaram said. Modi said the inability of the Centre to coordinate efforts with the states to achieve consensus on such issues emanates from its unwillingness to recognise the states as equal partners.