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Saturday, 25 February 2012

PC terror note to 10


PC terror note to 10

NISHIT DHOLABHAI
New Delhi, Feb. 24: Union home minister P. Chidambaram today sent a letter to 10 chief ministers saying a meeting of state police chiefs would be held “before the next step” on the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) is taken.
This could mean that the launch of the NCTC may miss the March 1 deadline.
“Before we take the next steps, I have asked the home secretary to call a meeting of the DGPs (directors-general of police) and the heads of the anti-terrorist organisations/forces of the state governments and discuss in detail the scope and functions of the NCTC,” the letter said.
Chief ministers of seven states had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh this month objecting to the “unilateral” way of establishing the anti-terror hub. A February 3 office memorandum from the home ministry stated that the NCTC would be formed on March 1.
Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has claimed that Singh had told her earlier this week that the NCTC would be launched only after consultations with the states were over, though the PMO has not expressly said so.
Today’s letter said: “I may assure you that the intention of the central government is to continue to work with state governments in order to meet the challenge of terrorism.”
Chidambaram attached a background note attempting to allay fears of state governments.
The states fear that the Intelligence Bureau, under which the NCTC will be, or the Centre would intrude in states’ law and order issues by using the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, under which the NCTC would be formed.
One of the objections of the states is regarding Section 43A of the act. Section 43 A gives powers of search and arrest to an NCTC officer.
Chidambaram explained in the letter: “Section 43A has to be read along with Section 43B and in particular sub-sections (2) and (3) of Section 43B.” Under this section, the NCTC officer will have to hand over an accused to the nearest police station “without unnecessary delay”, he wrote.
The letter was sent to Bengal, Bihar, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Odisha, Tripura, Himachal Pradesh and Jharkhand.