Now, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar also objects to NCTC through letter to PM
Patna, Feb.20 (ANI): Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has written to the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, stating his objections to the proposed establishment of National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC), which was meant to become operational on March 1.
Kumar told Dr. Singh that law and order is a state subject under the Indian Constitution, and it was his view that the new anti-terror hub is being given sweeping powers that violate the principles of federalism.
Kumar said: "It has been left fully to the absolute and arbitrary discretion of the NCTC authorities to make demands from the state governments and press for their immediate fulfillment. While the creation of a strong mechanism to counter terrorism at the national level is the need of the hour, would it not be better to consult state governments?"
The NCTC, a project that has topped Home Minister P Chidambaram's priority list since 26/11, has outraged every non-Congress government in the country, as well as West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, whose Trinamool Congress is a key partner in the UPA at the Centre.
Together with Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Banerjee has led the campaign against the new agency.
"The creation of NCTC is highly-flawed in as much as it has been very surprisingly created within the Intelligence Bureau which is a secret intelligence organisation without any accountability to parliament....is it not an established principle that secret intelligence are never given the powers of arrest? Not even the British, during their rule of India, gave the powers of arrest and search to the IB," wrote Kumar.
Last week, Patnaik and Banerjee described the NCTC's powers as draconian and asked the Prime Minister to withdraw the executive order that outlines its rights and reach.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Jayalalithaa of Tamil Nadu, Shivraj Singh Chouhan of Madhya Pradesh, and Mani Sarkar who heads the Left government in Tripura, have agreed with this interpretation.
Its current mandate allows the NCTC to swoop into any state, arrest suspects and fly them out of the state. It will not be obliged to consult the local government.
"Since 'police' and 'law and order' are state subjects, any action involving arrest, search and seizure should be taken only with the active involvement of the state police," Kumar said in his note to Dr. Singh.
The government has so far been stressing that the NCTC has been formed under an existing law - the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act of 1967 and that the first chapter of the act clearly explains that it applies to the whole country.
While technically this may be correct, the failure of the centre to consult with state governments is being seen as a political misstep. (ANI)
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