Jaya too opposes NCTC; says provisions usurp states' rights

Jaya too opposes NCTC; says provisions usurp states' rights

 Joining the chorus against National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa today said the proposed body suffered from 'deficiencies' and has provisions that tantamount to usurping the legitimate rights of the states.

"I share the concerns of other state Chief Ministers who have expressed reservations against the attitude of certain Ministries in the Government of India acting in a high handed manner without due consultation with the States," she said in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Jayalalithaa's missive to the Prime Minister comes on a day when the Centre's move to set up the NCTC from March 1 faced opposition from UPA ally Trinamool chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik.

Taking strong objections to certain provisions of the NCTC such as power to arrest, search and set up inter-State Intelligence Support teams, Jayalalithaa said they 'smack of a tendency to abrogate power with no attendant responsibility.'
"The power of arrest and seizure that was vested with the Joint Secretary in the Home Ministry, Government of India and the Secretary, Home Department, in the State Government, is now sought to be transferred to officers of the IB in the NCTC," she said.

This was highly objectionable and can be 'misused to suit ends that are motivated by reasons other than fighting terrorism,' she said in the letter a copy of which was released to the media here. Moreover, setting up of inter-state intelligence teams by the NCTC "is tantamount to usurping the legitimate rights of the States,"  Jayalalithaa said.

Holding that matters of public order and Police came under the state list of the Indian constitution, she asked "is it unreasonable to expect that when a major initiative such as a National counter-terrorism mechanism is sought to be established, the States should be taken into confidence?"

Citing Tamil Nadu's "excellent track record" with regard to counter terrorist measures, and its firm stand to deal with terrorist organisations, she said availability and transmission of advance intelligence, remaining in a state of alertness and modernisation of equipment coupled with advanced training were the key to any anti-terrorist establishment.

"Mere setting up of centres to collect and assimilate intelligence alone will not serve the purpose. The NCTC suffers from deficiencies," she said.

Jayalalithaa asked Singh to re-examine the provisions of the order of the Home Ministry so that a counter-terrorism mechanism that 'is purposeful and duly representative of the role of the states emerges.'