No Central assent to Gujarat anti-terror bill: Chidambaram

Denying that there was any “discrimination” against the Gujarat government, Chidambaram said the proposed provision “goes against the last expression of Parliament”. The minister meant that Parliament had refused to accept confessions made before the police as evidence, while the proposed bill made it so.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, in his address to the chief ministers’ conference on internal security here, expressed “shock” at the Centre’s decision. “I fail to understand why the Central government should oppose the provisions, which are already part of similar Acts in Karnataka and Maharashtra,” Modi said. He said liberal democracies had enacted laws with more stringent provisions than the proposed GUJCOC Bill.

On the wider issue of internal security, the home minister told reporters after the meeting that he was disappointed with the states at their action-taken reports on various tasks discussed in the first chief ministers’ conference. He said vacancies in the police department in the country were still to the tune of 1,50,000. It was around 2,30,000 in January 2008. “Even this is too large, and states must take every effort to recruit police personnel before March 31, 2010.” He called for an increase in the number of police stations in rural areas.

The minister admitted there was some opposition to police reforms but said that police officers without fixed tenure “cannot provide leadership”. A two-year fixed tenure for police officers is part of the apex court direction to give a free hand to the officers in discharging their duties.

DH News Service

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