MHA waters down NCTC to pacify states before meet

MHA waters down NCTC to pacify states before meet

Organisation will merely facilitate anti-terror ops

A completely watered-down version of National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC), the much-touted organisation to combat terrorism, has been circulated to states ahead of Wednesday’s chief ministers’ meeting on internal security here.

Now the NCTC will merely facilitate an anti-terror operation which would be “carried out through or in conjunction with the state police”, signalling a move that Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde made to avoid confrontation with the states that wanted the earlier notification of February 2012 to be withdrawn as it would intrude into the federal structure.

The previous NCTC draft, prepared when P Chidambaram was home minister, intends to empower the proposed organisation to carry out an anti-terror strike and come back.

The MHA officials are still keeping their fingers crossed over the NCTC sailing through political opposition at Wednesday’s meeting, given strong views of opposition parties’ chief ministers, including those from Gujarat, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu.

However, chief ministers of Tamil Nadu and West Bengal are not going to attend the meeting.

"The opposition to the NCTC is completely political. Following objections, we have proposed to completely detach the NCTC from the ambit of the Intelligence Bureau, and no operation will be carried out without taking into confidence the state concerned. But still, we don’t have high hopes," a senior official said. 

The latest avatar of the NCTC is nothing but a bloated version of the existing Multi-Agency Centre (MAC) formed in December 2008 to gather information from different agencies, collate it and share it with concerned authorities for appropriate action.

Now the MAC will be subsumed into the NCTC as per the draft executive order on the National Counter-Terrorism Centre (Organisations, Functions, powers and Duties) Order, 2013.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had earlier done away with the once-proposed provision of putting NCTC under the Intelligence Bureau.

Jaya skips CMs’ meet, deputes minister

Not wanting to be railroaded in completing her speech in 10 minutes, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has decided to skip the Conference of Chief Ministers slated June 5 in Delhi, report agencies from Chennai.

The chief minister has, however, deputed a state minister and some senior officials to represent her at the conference on internal security.

“Rather than attending a conference where chief ministers are being railroaded to finish their speeches within 10 minutes and to merely lay a speech on the table, I am deputing Thiru K P Munusamy, minister for municipal administration, rural development, law, courts and prisons, the home secretary and the director general of police to attend the conference on my behalf,” Jayalalithaa said in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday.