Opposition CMs oppose NCTC

New Delhi, June 5 (IANS) Chief ministers belonging to parties not partners or associatesd of the ruling alliance at the centre Wednesday expressed strong reservations over the proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), arguing that the mooted set-up was against the principle of federalism.

Many chief ministers of opposition parties also pointed out that Naxalism was one of the biggest security threats facing the country.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said: "On the NCTC, I think the new draft circulated has taken into consideration some of the concerns raised by the states. However, even on the new draft, some concerns remain. We have strong reservations about the proposed structure and functioning of the NCTC."

He said: "The proposed structure of the NCTC is not in congruence with the principles of federalism and the clear division of powers between the union and the states as envisaged under the constitution, as it essentially creates a federal police, a concept totally alien to our country".

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar stuck to the apprehensions he had expressed on the NCTC last year.

"I had expressed serious apprehensions about the structure, powers and functions of the proposed NCTC. The draft order still suffers from several serious flaws," he said at the Chief Ministers' Confference on internal security here.

Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said: "The state government fully appreciates the need for an effective mechanism for sharing intelligence between the centre and the states. However, the state government had expressed opposition to the manner in which the Ministry of Home Affairs had sought to set up the NCTC".

The chief ministers identified Naxal violence as one of the biggest security threats facing the country.

Nitish Kumar said: "We are all aware that tackling the problem of Left-wing extremism is the acute need of the hour. Recent incidents have raised grim challenges. The complicated and widespread problem of LWE defies easy and superficial solutions that are often applied or prescribed for it".

"...it warrants a multi-disciplinary, multi-departmental and holistic approach," he said.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh said: "Naxalism is the biggest threat to internal security. It is not just Chhattisgarh's problem, but that of several states. It requires a single national policy to tackle this menace."

"We have always adopted the combined strategy of security and development to fight against Naxalism and we have worked continuously on both aspects. I firmly believe that Naxalism is a direct threat to the nation. To fight it, we have to put up a nationally united front and strong national policy," he said.

Modi claimed that the equitable distribution of benefits of development and progress to remote parts of his state had frustrated the designs of Left-wing extremist organisations in Gujarat, but the unveiling of an urban plan by the CPI (Maoist) was a matter of serious concern.

"The spread of the benefits of development and economic progress to even the remotest parts of the state and a pervasive sense of socio-economic well-being have been the prime factors which have repeatedly and resolutely frustrated the designs of left-wing extremist organisations trying to enter Gujarat," he said.

"I would like to express my very serious concerns about the unveiling of the urban plan by the CPI (Maoist), which is a very innovative shift of strategy," he said.

The Gujarat chief minister emphasised deterrence mechanisms, with a national policy of zero-tolerance towards terrorism.

He said: there was a need for a "clear legal framework against terror with a strong anti-terror law as its cornerstone, securing porous land and sea borders from cross border threats, tracking and checking cross-border infiltration".

The NCTC is a proposed federal anti-terror agency to be created in India. The proposal came up after the 2008 Mumbai attacks, but has met much criticism from the chief ministers of various states who see the move as a means to weaken India's federalism.

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