With the proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) kicking up a political storm,Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today stepped in to allay the concerns of a host of non-Congress chief ministers including those of his allies that the anti-terror body infringed on the rights of states.
Singh wrote back to seven chief ministers assuring them that he has asked Home Minister P Chidambaram to address their concerns suitably.
In forming the NCTC,it is not the governments intent in any way to affect the basic features of the constitutional provisions and allocation of powers between the states and the union, the Prime Minister said. He said the primary purpose of the proposed body was to coordinate counter-terrorism efforts throughout the country as the Intelligence Bureau 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 wrote to the chief ministers of Tripura,Tamil Nadu,Orissa,Gujarat,West Bengal,Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. Noting their apprehensions about the manner in which the NCTC will function,he said he was asking the home minister to address them suitably,in consultation with you and other chief ministers.
Meanwhile,the parliamentary standing committee on home affairs headed by BJPs Venkaiah Naidu decided to ask the home ministry to put on hold its decision to set up the NCTC till a consensus is evolved on the contentious issue. This after several members of the committee at its meeting today attacked the Centre for not consulting the states and infringing on their rights and demanded that it its setting up be put in abeyance.
At the standing committee meeting,sources said AIADMKs V Maitreyan had given a note seeking permission to raise the issue and Naidu allowed him. In the presence of Home Secretary R K Singh,member after member from the Opposition slammed the Government for undermining the rights of the states. Sources said Trinamool Congress Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar too sought to know how the Home Ministry could issue such a notification without consulting the state governments. Leading the opposition charge was BJP veteran L K Advani. He is learnt to have pointed out that states will have to be taken on board as they have a key role to play in fighting terror.