Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa on Monday asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to convene a meeting of chief ministers as the March 12 meeting of officials will "not serve the purpose."
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Monday demanded that the Prime Minister first come out with a background paper spelling out the roles of the Central and State governments in the proposed National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC) and then convene a meeting of Chief Ministers to discuss the issue.
Contending that the formation of the NCTC was an attack on the federal structure, she asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to convene a meeting of Chief Ministers since larger issues concerning the Constitution were involved.
In response to the Union Home Ministry's communication to the Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary requesting him to attend an official meeting on March 12 along with the State Home Secretary and the Director-General of Police, Ms. Jayalalithaa said the proposed centre would be a non-starter without the involvement of the State governments.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, she urged him to convene a meeting of the Chief Ministers after circulating a background paper that would speak about the roles of the Centre and the States and offer insights into how they could work together in the fight against terrorism.
“Tinkering with a few provisions such as renaming the Designated Authority or arming the Intelligence Bureau with the power of arrest and seizure, or dictating to State governments about the formation of Inter-State Intelligence Support Teams will hardly help in this fight against terrorism,” Ms. Jayalalithaa said. When many Chief Ministers had expressed their concerns to the Prime Minister directly, a meeting chaired by the Union Home Secretary would not serve the purpose, she added.
Availability and transmission of advance intelligence, remaining in a state of alertness, and modernisation of equipment, coupled with advanced training, were the key elements of any anti-terrorism establishment. When a Counter Terrorism Centre was contemplated at the national level, a process of consultation through a formal communication should have been initiated with the States, she said.
However, the Chief Minister said she had instructed the Chief Secretary, the Home Secretary and the DGP to attend the March 12 meeting. She also recalled the two letters she had written to the Prime Minister on February 17 and 20 in which she recorded her strong objections to the constitution of the NCTC, drawing attention to certain provisions which “trampled upon” the legitimate rights of the State governments enshrined in the Constitution.