NEW DELHI: In the face of sustained and vocal opposition from the State governments against the proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), the Central Government got into a firefighting mode, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh writing to seven Chief Ministers allaying their fears about the anti-terror body infringing upon states’ rights.
Singh has written to the Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Odisha, Gujarat, West Bengal, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh and contended that the NCTC and Intelligence Bureau (IB) are not different organisations.
Seeking to douse the fire, with the States seeing the NCTC’s power on State Police as an attack on the principle of Federalism, the Prime Minister said: “I have noted your concerns... and I am asking the Home Minister to address them suitably, in consultation with Chief Ministers.”
Meanwhile, the setting up of the NCTC, projected as the one stop window for counter-terrorist activities, is likely to be postponed from its earlier scheduled date of March 1.
In his letter, the Prime Minister said: “In forming the NCTC, it is not the Government’s intent in any way to affect the basic features of the Constitutional provisions and affect the allocation of powers between the States and the Union.”
“The primary purpose of the NCTC is to coordinate counter-terrorism efforts throughout 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 said clarifying the Government’s position for the first time.
The PM also said the idea of such a centre was under government consideration since the GoM report of 2001 suggested a Joint Task Force on Intelligence and the report was accepted by the then NDA Government. It was also suggested by the Second Administrative Reforms Commission that an NCTC be established.