Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Wednesday accused the Centre of trying to establish stealthily the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), a proposal to which many States were opposed.
“There are unconfirmed reports that NCTC will now be constituted outside the Intelligence Bureau. I fail to understand why the Centre persists in dealing with such a sensitive matter in such an insidious fashion, treating the State governments as though they are adversaries,” according to her speech at the conference of Chief Ministers on Internal Security in New Delhi on Wednesday.
The speech was read out by Municipal Administration Minister K.P. Munusamy.
On Monday, she wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stating that she would not attend the conference as the Centre had reduced such important meetings to mere rituals. Further, Chief Ministers were not provided adequate time to express their views.
Recalling that she had opposed the proposal at a conference in May last year, Ms. Jayalalithaa said serious doubts existed about the operational effectiveness of a Central agency manned by officials of Intelligence Bureau, armed with powers of arrest and seizure.
Any national counter terrorism institution could ill afford to work in isolation from the State police, she said. After her “cogent and vehement arguments” at the conference, which was supported by a majority of Chief Ministers, it was indicated that constitution of NCTC would be kept in abeyance until the matter was re-examined.
Ms.Jayalalithaa said if terrorism was to be fought effectively, a nodal mechanism in the States should co-ordinate with the nodal central agency. State governments should be given liberal financial assistance by the Centre to raise a Rapid Action Counter Terrorist Force, which would function under the nodal State agency, fully equipped with modern weapons and training.
Pointing that maintenance of internal security was an exercise requiring functional co-operation and understanding between the Central and State governments and presupposed a relationship based on equality, she said the Centre, however, was increasingly taking unilateral steps. It was creating top down structures and parallel authorities that encroached upon the constitutional domain of the State governments… best illustrated by the ham-handed manner in which the NCTC had been sought to be established.
Apart from sanctioning the purchase of All Terrain Vehicles for the Tamil Nadu Coastal Security Group in “larger numbers” the Centre should release the remaining nearly Rs.84 crore of the Rs.107.36 crore it had allotted for coastal security to the State.
Calling for a substantial increase in the levels of Central financial assistance for modernisation of the police force, she said release of funds by the Centre to Tamil Nadu under the Police Modernisation Scheme had also come down drastically, from 75 to 60 per cent, in 2012-13. The Chief Minister also wanted the cost of security measures for mega cities to be borne completely by the Centre considering the importance of such cities from a national point of view.
Ms. Jayalalithaa also came down on the Centre for its “insensitive handling” of the Sri Lankan Tamils issue. She said the continuing attacks by the Sri Lankan Navy and the lack of “suitable and effective response by the Government of India, have agitated the entire fisherfolk community in Tamil Nadu, and this impinges upon the internal security environment in the State.”
Keywords: NCTC revised draft, National Counter Terrorism Centre, Chief Ministers' Conference on internal security, Jayalalithaa, Sri Lankan Tamils issue, Rapid Action Counter Terrorist Force, anti-terror law