With even Congress-ruled Karnataka and Maharashtra on Wednesday joining the non-Congress states in questioning certain contentious provisions of the proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), it seems like former Union Home Minister P Chidambaram’s pet anti-terror body project is headed for a quiet burial even before its inception.
Criticism about NCTC being violative of the country’s federal structure and encroaching on the states’ domain was not put to rest despite Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde’s hard selling of the diluted version of the proposed institution at the Chief Ministers’ Conference on Internal Security here on Wednesday.
Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah, while underlining the importance of coordination between state and central agencies for data and intelligence sharing, cautioned against NCTC, saying, “Some safeguards are necessary before setting up NCTC so that it’s not given unbridled powers to encroach upon states’ domain.”
Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan shared Siddaramaiah’s concerns. He said certain provisions in NCTC regarding operations against terrorist groups require further examination.
“Paragraphs 5.2 and 5.3 of the proposed draft order require further examination to understand their implications on operational efficacy and clarity on respective roles in such joint operations,” he said.
Immediately after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s speech at the CMs’ meet, it became clear that the Centre’s much-touted amendment in NCTC to avoid confrontation with the states failed to generate consensus. Although the proposed NCTC was completely detached from the ambit of the Intelligence Bureau, vague provisions regarding joint operations added to the concerns of the chief ministers.
TN CM J Jayalalithaa, who skipped the meeting but sent her speech, took a dig at the Centre saying it was treating state governments as though they are “adversaries to be suspected rather than partners”, and it continued trying to establish the NCTC “by stealth rather than in a spirit of cooperation and transparency and in partnership with the state governments”.