Govt reaches out to parties for consensus on NCTC

Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Gujarat were against it

The UPA government on Friday sought help of states and political parties to reach a consensus on the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), which has been delayed due to strong opposition from chief ministers of some states.

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who came under attack from the Opposition in Parliament on Friday, was also not pushing for the NCTC aggressively, a shift in the ministry’s stand since P Chidambaram was moved from the home to the finance ministry.

“It is not a matter of pushing. It is a matter of concern for all of us, including all political parties, state governments and all the people involved with governance at the central government level to come together to find a collective response to the challenge (of terrorism) that continues to haunt us,” External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid told reporters outside Parliament.

Home ministry sources said Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Gujarat were among the states which objected to the constitution of NCTC last year.

They were apprehensive that the organisation would infringe upon their territory since law and order was a state subject. The officials conceded that it was the right time to seek a political consensus on the issue.

Regarding Thursday’s blasts in Hyderabad, a senior ministry official said investigation into the twin explosions was underway. He did not rule out involvement of the Indian Mujahideen (IM), going by the modus operandi of the perpetrators. Besides, interrogation of their associates arrested earlier had pointed out that Hyderabad may be the next target.

About a month before Ramzan in 2012, Sayeed Maqbool helped Imran in carrying out a reconnaissance of Dilsukh Nagar, Begum Bazar and Abids in Hyderabad, on instructions of IM mastermind Riyaz Bhatkal, the Delhi Police had said in a release. Bhatkal is believed to be in Pakistan at present. Maqbool was arrested on October 23 last year from Hyderababd.

Sources said the MHA had issued two terror alerts, one to all states and the other to four cities including Hyderabad, Bombay and Bangalore. The alerts were based on information that militants with IM links based in Nepal were planning to carry out serial blasts.

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