“NCTC a tactical bid to intervene in States’ internal affairs”

Punjab has rejected the Union government’s plan for the National Counter Terrorism Centre, calling it a direct interference in India’s federal structure. The NCTC will allow the Centre to tactically intervene in internal matters of the States, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said on Wednesday.

Speaking at the annual conference of Chief Ministers on internal security in Delhi, he said the Centre reduced the session to a ritual, where not a single proposal or suggestion made by them had materialised in the past four years.

Mr. Badal said the NCTC plan appeared an attempt at raising the bogey of internal security with the States. For, there was no NCTC when Punjab fought back decade-long terrorism on its own. If allowed to operate under the proposed NCTC, Central forces would descend on the States without assessing the sensitivity of the situation, launch an operation and move out, leaving them to bear the brunt.

‘Insensitivity’

Citing Operation Blue Star, which Central forces had launched on the martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev, leading to the death of a number of innocent pilgrims trapped inside the Golden Temple in Amritsar, he said such gross insensitivity on their part, instead of tackling the situation, complicated it.

So, Mr. Badal said, the Centre should provide full backing to the States in their plans for modernisation and capacity-building. Rather than holding the annual meeting without any substantial result, the Union Home Minister should convene State-specific meetings individually and tackle particular problems.

Demanding a security package for Punjab, Mr. Badal said the Centre must support the border State in its battle against cross-border terrorism, smuggling of drugs, counterfeit currency and Web-based militant propaganda. Though “we have been able to eliminate militancy, efforts are made by forces across the border to foment trouble in the State.”

A record seizure of drugs by the Punjab police in the last few years underlined the fact that the Border Security Force, working directly under the Union Home Ministry, had failed to seal the border effectively. Punjab ended up paying the social cost of increased drug flow, with the Centre remaining a mute spectator, he said.