New Delhi: The deadlock persists on the Centre's ambitious National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) with Chief Ministers Mamata Banerjee, Narendra Modi, J Jayalalithaa and Naveen Patnaik continuing their opposition and questioning its rationale. While Mamata rejected the need of an anti-terror body outright, Modi questioned the Centre's ability to tackle terrorism.
The government is facing opposition from all the states ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and even its own ally Mamata Banerjee in operationalising NCTC. Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also opposed the move.
One of the strongest oppositions came from Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who cited the Batla House encounter, saying the Centre's contradictory stand showed its inability to identify the enemy.
He said, "Even years after the Batla House encounter, the Union government seems uncertain whether or not it is a genuine encounter between the terrorists and Delhi Police, which functions under the Ministry of Home Affairs."
"If the Union government is unable to even properly identify and recognise the enemy, how does it propose to conduct a decisive war against it?" said Modi.
Coming out strongly against the NCTC, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa too hit out at the Home Ministry for treating "states like pawns on a chessboard".
She further said, "The NCTC, as has now been notified, should be kept in abeyance, as already advocated by me in my letter to the Hon'ble Prime Minister earlier, till the sub-committee of Chief Ministers gives its report. As a matter of fact, any discussion on NCTC is infructuous as long as the notification of NCTC is in force."
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, meanwhile, said the exercise of police functions should remain the prerogative of the state. She also said that the move might lead to trust deficit between states and the Centre.
"These kinds of unilateral steps of the Union Government in matters which fall within the jurisdictions of the States only increase the trust-deficit between the Centre and States, said Mamata.
Apart from these, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh said the powers given to the NCTC violated the Constitution and several amendments were required. He, however, demanded a National Hostage Police to deal with abduction cases.
Slamming the proposal of the government, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said no other democracy has given such wide ranging powers to their secret intelligence agencies
Earlier, opening the meet, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reached out to states saying the anti-terror body won't infringe on state rights, but home minister Chidambaram defended NCTC saying terror knows no state boundaries.
The PM stressed that there is need for a one-stop-shop for counter-terror operations. He said the NCTC would coordinate counter-terror measures and give each state the capability to see the bigger picture of terror threats. But though the PM reached out to states, the Union Home Ministry seems to have dug in its heels, with the Home Secretary citing an SC judgement to show that counter-terrorism is within the Central government's domain.