NEW DELHI: In the face of strong opposition from the state governments against his dream project National Counter Terror Centre (NCTC), Home Minister P Chidambaram has written to Chief Ministers of 10 states assuring them the Centre’s commitment to work with the states to counter terrorism. Chidambaram’s move comes after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, breaking his silence, wrote to seven Chief Ministers opposing the setting up of the NCTC, and asked the Home Minister to engage the dissenting state governments. However, the Home Minister remained silent on whether the setting up of the NCTC has been postponed from the scheduled date of March 1.
“Countering terrorism is a shared responsibility... I may assure you that the intention of the government is to continue to work with the state governments,” said Chidambaram in his letter to the Chief Ministers.
Chidambaram has appended detailed note on the “Genesis, objectives, structure and powers of the NCTC” for the careful consideration of the Chief Ministers. Besides the letter, the Home Ministry, which had been accused of not consulting the state governments before bringing a notification for the NCTC, has also asked the Home Secretary to consult Director Generals of Police and heads of anti-terrorist organisations in the states to build a consensus on the issue. The state governments, led-by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, are seeing the mechanism as a Centre’s move to encroach upon their turf by infringing the principle of Federalism.
The NCTC has been mandated to collate intelligence, analysing the inputs and then finding out an effective response to the terror threat. The job of the NCTC will not end with intelligence gathering, and suggesting an effective counter-measure to anti-terrorist organisations in the states and the police force.