Thursday, May 10, 2012

National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) -- Modi, Mamata, Badal rejected it ouright, Nitish, Naveen, Jayalalitha for negotiation and finetuning

At the chief ministers conference held in Delhi on May 5, it was not a black and white story that majority of the media seemed to have made it out to be. Not all opposition chief ministers were opposed to the idea of National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC) though they had strong objections to the form in which it was presented. A government source revealed that some of these chief ministers explained their objections and that the central government was only too willing to go back to the drawing board.

Home minister P.Chidambaram had apparently explained that it was not his idea that the NCTC should be under the Intelligence Bureau (IB), a point on which there was vehement criticism, and that it was the decision of the cabinet committee on security. Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar adopted a pragmatic tone on the issue and said in his intervention that it would not be a good idea to expose the IB person when he or she has to be present in the court for remanding the arrested suspect to custody. Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalitha was keen that the local police should be kept in the loop and how the NCTC people would not be able to function without the cooperation of the local police. The tenor of the argument was that the NCTC will not be effective with its overriding powers to arrest if it does not have local administrative support. There was also the time lapse between an arrest made by NCTC and the handover to the local police.

Punjab chief minister Prakash Singh Badal had argued against NCTC saying that Punjab had dealt with terrorism all on its own in the 1980s and with no help from the central government. Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi said that the nature of terrorism has changed over the years and it will be necessary to have a national centre because the new challenge in terms of information and the technology used by terrorists. Some of the chief ministers felt that the state governments did not have the wherewithal to deal with the terrorist challenge.

It appears that West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee had opposed it because she felt that is what she needed to do. The other chief minister who opposed the idea of NCTC in toto was Gujarat's Narendra Modi.

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