We will clear their misconceptions on the issue, he says
As the chorus against the proposal to set up a National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC) grew louder with 13 States opposing the move, the Centre has said it is ready for a dialogue to remove the concerns and misgivings. “If States have any concerns, the Central government is willing to have a dialogue,” Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said here on Tuesday.
Stating that the States had been represented in the NCTC, Mr. Sibal said the central council consisted of a director, three joint directors and heads of anti-terrorist organisations of States. The powers given to the NCTC for counter-terrorism were earlier vested with the Centre.
Explaining the rationale behind setting up the NCTC, Mr. Sibal said that after the Kargil war, the Group of Ministers had recommended the strengthening of the intelligence system and thereafter, the Inter-State Intelligence Support System (ISISS) was set up. Following the recommendation of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC), it was converted into the NCTC. “The Unlawful Activities Prevention Act [UAPA], 1967 was amended in 2004, whereby power for counter-terrorism was given to an officer of the Central government not below the rank of joint secretary, who was the designated authority, and in the States, not below the rank of secretary,” the Minister told journalists at the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee headquarters here.
The UAPA was further amended in 2008 and under Section 43 (A), powers for counter-terrorism operations were transferred to the NCTC. “The power with NCTC was already there,” Mr. Sibal added.
The Centre's move hit a road block after Chief Ministers of 13 States, including West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, whose Trinamool Congress is an ally of the UPA government, voiced their opposition to the proposal as they feared that the Union government was trying to usurp their powers. Asked why Ms. Banerjee was opposing the move, Mr. Sibal said “even I knew nothing about it [the NCTC] and came to know only after studying the proposal.”
On the Aligarh Muslim University banning the entry of women undergraduates to the institution's Central Library, he said that at a recent meeting he had given directions that it was unfair to bar the entry of women undergraduates.