Law and order State subject, says Chouhan; bid to usurp States' powers, says Dhumal
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Friday strongly opposed the Home Ministry notification on the National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC) and demanded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh immediately cancel the order.
The order was an attack on the federal structure of the country, Mr. Modi said in a letter to Dr. Singh. He regretted that the Centre did not even bother to consult the State governments. It had infringed on the rights and powers of the State by issuing the order. He said that under the order, all the intelligence agencies would have to carry out an assisting role to the NCTC, which would also have the powers to arrest and search.
In the name of fighting terror and Naxalism, the Centre was out to violate the federal structure of the Constitution under which law and order was placed as a State subject and the State governments given the powers to maintain law and order and manage the police force. “But the NCTC order was a clear attack on the State's rights and powers and straight violation of the federal spirit of the constitution.”
Mr. Modi said: “There is need to develop trust among the States and to have a single strategy with political willpower to battle problems like terror and Naxalism. On the contrary, this order will snatch away the powers of the States given by the Constitution, and so, the order should be cancelled immediately and the States should be consulted first before taking any such measure.”
A serious setback
In Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan termed the Centre's decision a serious setback to the federal structure of the country. He said he would write to the Prime Minister seeking a review of the move.
“Law and order issues are subjects of the State. The Centre is gradually trying to increase its intervention in the affairs of the States,” he told journalists.
In Shimla, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said the move was another attempt to usurp the powers of the States.
“Whenever an incident of terrorism takes place, the Centre comes out with another investigating agency to divert the attention of the people and infringes upon the rights of the State, weakening the federal structure,” he told PTI.
The powers given to the CBI to investigate cases without nod from the State government and constitution of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had trampled upon the rights of the States. Instead of fighting terror, the UPA government was trying to arm itself with powers to dilute the country's federal structure.
Claiming that States like Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh had shown the political will and succeeded in combating terrorism, he alleged that the Centre had not been able to even hang a “dreaded terrorist” like Afzal Guru despite his conviction by the Supreme Court.
Noting that multiplication of agencies and interference in the functioning of States would not help in curbing terrorism, Mr. Dhumal said the Centre should instead demonstrate the will and determination to fight terrorism.