New Delhi: Amid opposition by seven chief ministers on the proposed National Counter Terror Centre (NCTC), the Prime Minister on Tuesday writes to anti-NCTC chief ministers allaying their fear on the organization. In his letter, PM said, primary purpose of NCTC is to coordinate counter-terrorism efforts across the country.

READ MORE: NCTC:Govt ready for dialogue with states

Build consensus on NCTC: BJP asks Centre

Manmohan Singh also added that, ‘It is for this reason that NCTC has been located within IB and not as a separate organization.”
     
He further added, “I noted your concerns and am asking the Home Minister to address them suitably in consultation with Chief Ministers.”

Attack unabated, PM approaches CMs

Opposition parties on Tuesday kicked up further row on the Centre's decision to set up an anti- terror body asking a parliamentary committee to recommend that it be put on hold as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh plans to write to Chief Ministers on the issue.

 

The opposition to setting up of the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), a brain child of Home Minister P Chidambaram, came at a meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, on a day when a Congress ally National Conference appeared to express its reservations over the move.
      
Under attack from non-Congress Chief Ministers and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who have written to him, the Prime Minister is planning to write to them explaining the Centre's proposal.
      
The Home Ministry is believed to have given its inputs to the Prime Minister who will have a meeting with Mamata Banerjee here tomorrow. The NCTC issue is likely to come up in the meeting.
      
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah also appeared to be having reservations though he did not spell them out.
      
"There has been no discussion between state government and the Central government on the issue of NCTC. I do not think it would be appropriate as Chief Minister for me to publicly comment about it, before I privately share the feelings of the state government with the Union government on this crucial issue," Omar told reporters near Srinagar.
      
The government is likely to convene a meeting of Chief Secretaries and Directors General of police of all states to explain about NCTC before March 1, when the body is expected to come into existence.

At the meeting of the Parliamentary committee, members of non-Congress parties grilled Union Home Secretary R K Singh on setting up of the NCTC.
    
The posed questions to the Home Secretary asking him how the Centre can decide unilateraly on setting up the counter-terrorism body without consulting states.
    
Sources said the Opposition members told Committee chairman and BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu that he should recommend to the Home Ministry that the proposal be put on hold.
    
Members of BJP, BJD, AIADMK and Left parties were of the opinion that the NCTC "infringes" on the powers of states and would affect the federal structure.
    
Chief Ministers of a dozen states have already voiced their opposition to the creation of the NCTC arguing that the rights of the states would be compromised if it comes into force.
    
At today's meeting, the members told Singh that the Chief Ministers of states should have been consulted before the decision to set up the body was taken.
    
The sources said a few members said the setting up of the body would be an attack on principles of federalism and it would have an adverse impact on Centre-State relations.
    
They said Congress members, who were present in the meeting, pitched for wider consultations on the issue.

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley attacked the government's decision saying to form the NCTC through an executive order was a breach of the federal structure.
     
He demanded that the decision be kept in abeyance till a consensus is evolved with the states.
    
Expressing support to the chief ministers of the states which have opposed the NCTC in its present form, the BJP leader alleged that the Centre took the decision to establish the anti-terror body without consulting the states.
    
"This is one of the many instances which show that statecraft and statesmanship have become alien to this government...We are not a union of states but have a federal structure. If the government questions this, the states have a right to protest," he said.
     
However, Telecom and HRD Minister Kapil Sibal said the Centre was ready for a dialogue to remove any misgivings or concerns of states opposing NCTC.
    
"If they have any concerns, there is no problem in having a dialogue...If there is any misgivings, no problem, we can have a dialogue but all that is being done by the Central Government for counter terrorism operations," Sibal told reporters in Lucknow.
    
Explaining the rationale of setting up the NCTC, he said the powers that were earlier with the Central government have been given to the NCTC for counter-terrorism operations.

(Agencies)