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Gujarat Chief Minister questions UPA Government's motive behind creation of NCTC, demanded withdrawal of the order

Gujarat Chief Minister Shri Narendra Modi while strongly demanding rollback of National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) condemned the UPA Government for damaging the trust between Union Government and States. He said that in last few months, UPA Government has taken a number of such ill-advised steps to weaken State Governments. He also said that by this kind of intentions and unilateral actions, it is making terrorists happy as its focus is shifting from fighting terrorists to weakening State Governments. In a scathing attack on the lack of leadership, he said that the Union Government is functioning in total disregard to the Constitutional propriety. It is damaging the federal structure and breaking the bond of cooperation. He mentioned that it is changing the basic nature of an intelligence agency and exposing it to public glare. It is exposing the intelligence organization to day to day grind of Police force, running from Court to Court for prosecuting offender. It is tinkering with all such institutions and damaging their capability to perform their task. ‘Guptchar' is being exposed to become ‘Openchar'

He appealed to the Prime Minister to rise to the occasion and cancel the Office Memorandum creating NCTC which is against the Constitutional provision and stop weakening the State Governments who are fighting against terrorism and extremism. He made a fervent appeal to the Prime Minister to work for restoring the trust between the Union Government and States.

Speaking at the Chief Ministers' conference convened by the Government of India under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on the issue of National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), Shri Modi pointed out that Gujarat is clearly in favour of a strong comprehensive anti-terror law to combat terrorism. However, the State is not in favour of damaging democratic polity and federal structure by creating NCTC to create problems for the State Governments. It is more than obvious that NCTC is all about creating problems in the states and ferment trouble for the State Governments. He said that it is obvious that the present Union Government has hidden political agenda.

“What signals we are going to terrorists by creating a crisis of confidence between the Union Government and States? Why Union Government wants to destroy the federal structure? Why it does not trust the State Governments and its agencies? What does it want to achieve - to fight terrorism or to create crisis in States” he asked the Prime Minister.

Shri Modi further stated that in such operations there is a high probability of collateral damages. How will the NCTC tackle these consequent situations if their actions lead to counter violence, protests, agitations and problems of public order? It would be like the Union Government agencies coming and disturbing a bee-hive and leaving the state agencies to bear all the bee-stings.

Shri Modi said that this august gathering should not be converted into a debating forum rather this occasion should be used to give a clear and strong message that both the Union Government and States are together in the fight against terrorism and extremism. He said that our main priority is to combat terrorism in any form with strong political will.

The Gujarat Chief Minister while commenting on operational effectiveness of the proposed NCTC posed a question about the Union Government's success to deal with issues like viz. infiltration, arms landing, communication, channelization of funds through havala routes and extradition of terrorists, though the Central organizations are primarily responsible for tackling these issues.

He also gave an example how Gujarat Government successfully fought for extradition of a terror accused hiding in UK. He appealed to the Prime Minister to concentrate on these issues which will help in the fight against terrorism and weaken the backbone of terrorism.

He said that States are successfully carrying out operations in nabbing the terrorists. The weak link is right intelligence input from Union Government. He said that he would like to know even a single instance where any State has not cooperated with the Union Government in carrying out operations in the field to nab the terrorists.

Emphasizing on having faith in our constitutional arrangements and the Union – State relationship in a federal structure, he said that we should not focus on legalistic arguments, but rise above technicalities and dwell upon the larger picture of confidence–building between the Centre and states.

Criticizing the Union Government's tendency to misuse executive machinery, Shri Modi said that the creation of NCTC when seen in the backdrop of recent events in our body-politic assumes significance as a conscious strategy to pursue certain hidden agenda. This is really “Kahin pe Nigaahen kahin pe Nishana”, he said sarcastically and mentioned the Union Home Ministry's failure in preventing terrorist attacks in Delhi.

He mentioned that NIA was created to deal with scheduled offences affecting different States. Within a short span, Union Government came out with NCTC. Similarly, MAC and SMAC were set up to strengthen our intelligence system and now it feels that these mechanisms are inadequate and want that all the intelligence agencies be subsumed in the Intelligence Bureau.

During the last 25 years this country has witnessed series of terror incidents and yet we have not been able to deal with the problem comprehensively, he pointed out. As the States bear the brunt of the menace, the real need is to enhance their capacities. The forces fighting terror at the forefront need strong support and legal backing, Shri Modi suggested.

While entire developed world enacted strong anti-terror laws in post 9/11 terror attack, India was seen repealing POTA. Shri Modi pointed out that the Union Government has still not been able to come out with a comprehensive anti-terrorism legislation. The UPA Government of 2004 repealed POTA depriving the country of the legal shield to fight terror and today it seeks to use the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act to create NCTC through back door, thereby depriving States to discharge their responsibilities.

Citing examples of Anti-terrorism Act and legislations in countries like Canada, New Zealand, UK, Japan and Indonesia, Shri Modi said that USA which already had a strong legal framework found it appropriate to enact special laws like the USA PATRIOT Act, Homeland Security Act, SAFETY Act and so on to rise up to the new challenges. However, while these nations were strengthening themselves and sending a strong signal of robust will to fight terror, UPA Government was busy repealing the existing Anti-terror Acts like POTA.

Strongly opposing creation of NCTC in the present form in such a clandestine manner, Shri Modi said that the State Governments must be strengthened and supported in fight against terror. However, what we are witnessing is a systematic attempt to weaken the State Governments and subvert the Constitution just to wield power in States.

Shri Modi also pointed out that the IB, though placed under the Ministry of Home Affairs, is outside the scope of Parliamentary oversight. The creation of NCTC increases the possibility of violation of democratic rights due to co-existence in a single Agency of covert capabilities and direct operational capacities. He wondered why at the conceptual stage, Union Government did not consult States on the issue of creation of NCTC.

Gujarat Minister of State for Home Shri Prafulbhai Patel, Addl. Chief Secretary (Home) Shri Varesh Sinha, Principal Secretary (Law & Order) Shri G C Murmu, Director General of Police Shri Chitaranjan Singh and Resident Commissioner Shri Bharat Lal besides senior officers from State Government attended the meeting.

 
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