The Telegraph
Saturday , February 23 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Terror hub bursts back on centrestage
Blasts fuel NCTC call

New Delhi, Feb. 22: The government, which had put the National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC) on the backburner after violent opposition from states like Bengal, Bihar and Tamil Nadu, has revived the debate in the wake of the blasts in Hyderabad.

Although home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde did not mention this in his statement on the blasts in Parliament today, external affairs minister Salman Khurshid said outside that all political parties and state governments should come together for a collective response to terrorism.

Asked if the Centre would make a renewed push for NCTC now, Khurshid said: “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 collective response to the challenge (of terrorism) that continues to haunt us.”

Khurshid is part of the group of ministers (GoM) on media that is authorised to speak for the government.

Opposition-ruled states opposed the creation of the NCTC, saying it was an assault on federalism and that the proposed body would encroach upon their rights since policing is a state subject. The Trinamul Congress had voiced opposition even while being part of the UPA government.

Although former home minister P. Chidambaram still tried to push NCTC, Shinde gave up and said it was not his priority because the states were not on board. The NCTC was a brainchild of L.K. Advani, when he was NDA home minister, but the BJP too changed colours to oppose it.

Khurshid today said: “We should stop scoring points at each other, we should stop looking at narrow political gains. We should look at a larger picture in the national interest.”

Asked if the blasts are linked to terror groups in Pakistan, the minister said: “The probe will bring out the truth. Such things have been seen earlier also and we have taken up the pain and resolve not only with our neighbours but internationally also. Whatever comes out in the probe, the government will take steps in national interest.”

Asked whether the blasts were the result of the “shrill political discourse” in the country, Khurshid said: “The question is about our whole society and not just political discourse... Look at the tone media is using and the political language we have been using. It is important that all of us calm down. It is important that temperatures are brought down and we have greater objectivity in our political discourse. I think the real enemy is scoring points again and again.”