With the Budget session of Parliament less than two weeks away and key allies of the government and opposition parties in a belligerent mood over the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), home minister P Chidambaram sought to soothe fears, writing to 10 chief ministers across the country.
Chidambaram sought to dispel the notion that the NCTC would be set up overriding the reservations of the state governments. ?Before we take the next steps, I have asked the home secretary to call a meeting of director generals of police and the heads of anti-terrorist organisations and forces of the state governments and discuss in detail the scope and functions of the NCTC,? his letter said.
The NCTC, according to a February 3 order, was supposed to start functioning from March 1, but a coordinated effort by over eight chief ministers, including West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, a key ally of the UPA government, has put a spanner in the works.
PM Manmohan Singh had written to these chief ministers and said the home minister would address their concerns.
Chidambaram in his letters assured of further consultation with state governments, but added that fighting terror was a shared responsibility between the Centre and the states. ?We had, working together, decided to amend the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in 2004 and in 2008, and I may assure you that the intention of the Central government is to continue to work with the state governments in order to meet the challenge of terrorism,? he wrote.