New Delhi, April 16 (IANS) Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi Monday accused the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government of "creating an atmosphere of distrust" with the states through its move to give police powers to central paramilitary forces and investigating agencies.
Speaking at the chief ministers' conference on internal security, he urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to bridge the gap.
"Whether it is the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), Railway Protection Force or the Border Security Force, the centre's unilateral activity is creating an atmosphere of distrust between the centre and the state... I urge Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to bridge the gap," Modi told reporters on the sidelines of the meet.
The centre has proposed the creation of the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) that will have powers to arrest terror suspects all over the country, apart from carrying out investigation and raids.
This has been opposed by non-UPA chief ministers, including Modi, who shot off letters to the prime minister, resulting in the NCTC not becoming functional on March 1 as was originally proposed.
Modi has also written separately to the prime minister against the proposals to provide the central government-controlled Railway Protection Force (RPF) officers powers equivalent to state police officers; also amendments to the Border Security Force law to enable their officers to effect arrests in the hinterland, apart from existing powers to arrest border violators and cross-border smugglers.
Modi said these actions of the centre were creating an atmosphere of distrust with the state governments.
Accusing New Delhi of adopting a unilateral approach on issues concerning internal security, Modi said it must see the states as partners in maintaining national security.
"Internal security is too serious a matter to be treated as an arena for one-upmanship by the union government," Modi said in his address at the conference.
However, he noted that the central government "after long, paid heed" to the states' objection on creation of NCTC and has now decided to hold a separate meeting with the chief ministers on May 5.
"Let me draw your attention to the fact that the NCTC imbroglio is part of unsavoury episodes that have taken place since we (chief ministers) last met and the leitmotif of this episode has been the unilateral approach of the union government," he said.
Modi said the state governments faced the brunt of problems related to internal security and hence must be seen as partners.
Citing examples of "non-consultative" approach of the union government, Modi referred to the amendment to the RPF Act, and said: "The union railway ministry has tried to create a state within state."
He also referred to his letter to the prime minister detailing his concerns about the proposed amendment to the BSF Act, 1968.
"It is unfortunate that the union government has failed to instil faith and confidence about our defence preparedness in the common man," Modi said in an obvious reference to the leaked letter of army chief Gen. V.K. Singh to the prime minister detailing gaps in India's defence preparedness.
"Any lacunae in our defence capability on account of resource constraint, demoralisation of the rank and file, and tensions between the civil and military wing is bound to have an adverse impact on the internal security of the nation.
"I earnestly request the Indian government to take proactive step to clear the fog of mistrust and suspicion that has arisen on account of the recent unseemly controversy and not remain content with mere issuance of statements," the Gujarat chief minister added.
Referring to the issue of terrorism, he said it had international ramifications.
"We have experienced terrorists fleeing our country and often carrying out subversive act sitting outside the boundaries of our nation. It puzzles me as to what a helpless situation we are put into; even we are unable to bring the perpetrators of terror to justice," he added.
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