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All eyes on NCTC meet tomorrow

The ministry is confident it will be able to convince chief ministers to agree to the NCTC

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: May 4, 2012 12:23:38 am

With the Home Ministry taking the first steps towards addressing concerns of states,Saturday’s meeting of chief ministers is expected to produce ice-breaking discussions on the creation the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC),which is in abeyance because of the state’s objections.

Ahead of the meeting,the Home Ministry has circulated a set of Standard Operating Procedures for the operations wing of the NCTC,spelling out exactly how it will exercise its powers to search,seize or arrest — the provisions that had angered states the most. It has also promised to strengthen the powers of the Standing Council of NCTC,in which every state would have representation through their police chiefs.

A top officer of one of the states that had opposed the NCTC said the ministry’s move was welcome,though it did not solve all the problems. “This shows that at least they are willing to listen to the states. What they have proposed is not final and may still not be agreeable to many states. But at least this is a good starting point for the discussions on Saturday. We are hoping that something good will come out from the meeting,” he said.

A Rajya Sabha MP considered close to one of the chief ministers said none of the states was against the creation of an anti-terror body,and therefore their objection to the NCTC must not be seen as ideological. “An amicable solution has to be found and we are hoping it will be found at Saturday’s meeting,” he said,adding that states were likely to take a collective stand on this issue on Saturday as well.

“I expect that the chief ministers might have started talking to each other on this. All of them have similar concerns with regard to the NCTC and it is logical for them to coordinate their strategy,” he said.

The ministry,meanwhile,is confident it will be able to convince chief ministers to agree to the NCTC.

“This is not a Centre-state issue. It has been made to look like one but it is not. We are all in it together. The differences are over how to make the NCTC work in the best interests of the country and the best way will be found,” a Home Ministry official said.

The NCTC was to come into being on March 1 but it had to be put off following strong resistance from many Opposition-ruled state governments which accused the Centre of trying to encroach on the powers of the states.

Jaya to attend
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa will attend the meeting on NCTC,of which she is one of the leading critics.

At the meeting on internal security in mid-April,Jayalalithaa and her Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi had slammed the Centre for what they called its “big brother attitude”.

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