Mamata Banerjee meets PM, says NCTC will disturb federal structure

   Feb 22, 7:35 pm

New Delhi, Feb 22 (ANI): West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who met the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, at his official 7, Race Course Road residence here on Wednesday said the formation of the proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) will affect the federal structure.

"What we have observed is that in the name of NCTC they can arrest anybody, they can interfere in any business, they can give UAPA Act (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act). To anybody without consent of the state government. Also they can requisite the police personnel or police group from any state. These three are the contradictory of our federal structure. And that is why every chief ministers is raising their voice because it will disturb the federal structure," she told the media here.

"We are not in favour of giving protection to a terrorist, we are fighting the battle. But there is a system if the Centre and the state governments do it together then there will be no confusion," she added.

Banerjee said that the Prime Minister is equally concerned and has assured her that all concerns will be looked into ahead of the formation of the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC).

"The Prime Minister said he is concerned and instructed the Home Minister to consult the states. We requested him that until the consultations are over or the same opinion has been build up to protect the federal structure, tell them not to implement this act or execute the order that was passed, it should be stopped," she said.

Mamata Banerjee is among the seven chief ministers, who have raised serious objections to the Central Government's move to set up the NCTC without consulting the state governments.

Banerjee and the other six chief ministers are of the view that as law and order is a state subject, it is the duty of the Centre to interact with the state governments on the issue.

The Prime Minister had on Tuesday assured that the Centre has no intention of encroaching on the jurisdiction of states in operationalising the NCTC.

"The primary purpose of the NCTC is to coordinate counter-terrorism efforts throughout the country, as the IB (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," said Dr. Singh in identical letters to the seven chief ministers, who had earlier written to him.

Several state governments, including the Trinamool Congress (TMC), which is the second largest in the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance Government (19 Members of Parliament), joined the chorus against what is being seen as an attempt to infringe upon state's rights.

The main task of the NCTC would be to ensure that the wide variety of security organizations in the country work in tandem, at least on issues related to terrorism.

It will also have the power to seek information, including documents, reports, transcripts, and cyber information from any agency, including from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), National Investigation Agency, National Technical Research Organization, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and all seven central armed police forces including the National Security Guard (NSG).

The body, which will function under the Intelligence Bureau, has been given its own operational wing with powers to arrest and conduct searches under Section 43A of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. (ANI)

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