Bhubaneswar, May 5: Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik today refused to accept the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) in its present form and suggested that a sub-committee of chief ministers be formed to address the concerns of state governments on the issue.
“The NCTC in its present form is simply not acceptable,” he said, addressing the chief ministers’ meeting called by the Union home ministry to discuss the issue in Delhi.
Naveen, who was the first chief minister to raise his voice against the Centre’s proposal to vest wide-ranging powers in the anti-terrorism body, said the NCTC should neither be given such sweeping powers nor be made part of a secret agency such as the Intelligence Bureau.
The chief minister, who in the past has written at least two letters to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking changes in the NCTC’s proposed structure and powers, also pleaded for the formation of focus groups to discuss specific issues and problem areas.
Keen to ensure that the Centre in no way encroached upon the jurisdiction of the states in maintaining law and order, Naveen said it should be mandatory for the NCTC director to intimate state DGPs in advance about any operation to be carried out in areas under their jurisdiction.
“In fact, all operations taken by the central forces should be joint operations with the assistance of the state police force,” he said, while expressing reservations over provisions that bestow powers on the NCTC to act unilaterally in crisis situations. He said this would be go against the federal spirit of the Constitution and undermine the authority of state governments.
Underscoring the need for avoiding decisions that could lead to a trust deficit between the Centre and the states, Naveen suggested that a sub-committee of chief ministers under the chairmanship of his Tamil Nadu counterpart, Jayalalithaa, be set up to address the concerns of the state governments with regard to the NCTC.
Naveen’s refusal to accept the anti-terror body in its present form is in tune with his earlier stand on the issue. In a letter to the Prime Minister in February he had expressed apprehensions about the misuse of the wide-ranging powers proposed to be vested in the NCTC and criticised the Centre for not taking state governments into confidence while deciding on its structure and powers.
Naveen had also sought to make common cause with the chief ministers of other non-Congress states, including Jayalalithaa and Nitish Kumar.