Monday, February 26, 2024

Opp MPs back NCTC in meeting with Chidambaram

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New Delhi: Opposition MPs, at a meeting with Home Minister P. Chidambaram Friday, agreed with him on the need for a centralised anti-terror intelligence hub, like the proposed NCTC, but after bringing the state governments on board.

According to sources privy to the meeting of the parliamentary consultative committee on internal security, almost all MPs cutting across party lines accepted that the formation of the National Counter Terrorism Centre “at the earliest” was imperative to India’s counter terrorism mechanism.

A member from the opposition party who was at the meeting said “none of the members raised objections to the NCTC”.

“They agreed that the NCTC was much needed,” said the MP, pleading anonymity because members of the panel are not authorised to divulge what transpires in its meetings.

Asked if any member from the opposition raised any objection to the NCTC, the MP said: “Not at all. But they told the home minister to take states on board and address their fears that their policing powers won’t be diluted.”

“He (Chidambaram) sounded committed to it. This (NCTC) is the only solution to fight the terror. But the point is how to make others realise this.”

The meeting was attended by Rajya Sabha MPs H.K. Dua, nominated, Mohammed Ali Khan of the Congress and Vinay Katiyar of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

From the Lok Sabha, it was attended by Bhisma Shankar alias Kushal Tiwari of the Bahujan Samaj Party, D.B. Chandre Gowda of the BJP and Mahabal Mishra and Thokchom Meinya of the Congress.

Ministers of state for home Mullapally Ramachandran and Jitendra Singh were also present.

The BSP and the BJP, along with many state governments, are rallying against the NCTC on the grounds that powers given to the agency would dilute the rights of states and disturb India’s federal structure.

The severe opposition has led to stalling of the proposed anti-terror organisation that was to be formed in March after a February government order.

According to a home ministry spokesperson, the members stressed the need to have a “strong institutional mechanism” to tackle terror.

The home minister told them that delaying the NCTC was increasing the terror risks.

“We need to counter terrorism not just as a police operation but we need a counter terrorism organisation that mobilises all elements of national power; diplomatic, financial, investigative, intelligence and police. Therefore, we need counter terrorism body like NCTC or similar organisation. (IANS)

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