Shinde meets Mamata, says favours NCTC

FP

As part of renewed efforts to push for the creation of a National Counter Terrorism Centre, following the twin bomb blasts in Hyderabad last week, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde Monday broached the subject with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and later claimed that she was "interested" in establishing the organisation.

Shinde met Mamata at Bakhali on the second day of his two-day visit to Bengal.

"I have spoken to the CM about it. She said certain clauses in it needed to be discussed mutually. Mamata is interested in it (NCTC), but there are other CMs with whom talks are required to find a way to fight terrorism together. This is a Centre-state issue and every CM believes that the states' rights should not be encroached upon," Shinde told reporters.

Mamata has been one of the strongest voices in opposition to the NCTC, which is being envisaged as a single Central agency that will prevent, respond to, and investigate terror attacks. Opposition-ruled states have been opposing the creation of NCTC on grounds that it impinges on the federal structure of polity.

The NCTC, as originally proposed, was to have powers to carry out search, seizure and arrest in any part of the country, and power to seek information, including documents, reports, transcripts, or any other kind of information, from any agency. Law and order being a state subject, the Opposition-ruled states fear that such provisions are an encroachment on their rights.

In fact, BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Monday once again objected to the NCTC in its current proposed form, though he agreed with the need for an agency that can collect "cross-border intelligence" and "national intelligence" given the fact that "terrorist modules have inter-state operations". But he cautioned the Centre against projecting the opposition to NCTC as an "imaginary federalism versus terrorism" debate.

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