No conflict on NCTC: PC
NEW DELHI, Apr 16:
Reaching out to states complaining over NCTC, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today favoured joint and coordinated efforts to deal with challenges of terrorism whatever its origin, whether internal or external.
“There is no question that the burden of the fight against terrorism falls largely on the states’ machinery. The Centre is ready to work with the states to put in place strong and effective institutional mechanisms to tackle this problem,” he said.
The Prime Minister, who inaugurated the annual conference of Chief Ministers on internal security, did not dwell on the proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre, saying it will be discussed on May 5 in a separate meeting as suggested by some Chief Ministers.
Non-Congress Chief Ministers as also UPA ally Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee have raised objections to the provisions in the NCTC, contending that it will upset the federal structure and encroach on the powers of the states.
The Prime Minister warned that threats from terrorism, Left wing extremism, religious fundamentalism and ethnic violence persist in the country.
“These challenges demand constant vigilance on our part. They need to be tackled firmly but with sensitivity. The forces behind them must not only be contained but should also be effectively rolled back,” he said.
“Like other internal security matters, we need joint and coordinated efforts to deal with the challenge of terrorism, whatever be its origin, whether internal or external, and whatever its motivation,” Singh said.
Seeking a “holistic” approach in tackling the problem, he said, “This is a struggle in which we cannot relax. When we see turbulence in the region and growing factors of instability around us, we must strengthen our defences against terrorism.”
Singh said “today, terrorist groups are nimble, more lethal than ever and increasingly networked across frontiers.”
The Prime Minister described the internal security situation in the country has by and large been “satisfactory” since February last year for which the efforts of the states and the Centre need to be commended.
“But I am sure all of us would agree that much more is required of us. Serious internal security challenges remain. Threats from terrorism, Left wing extremism, religious fundamentalism, and ethnic violence persist in our country,” he told the conference being attended among others by Narendra Modi, Jayalalithaa, Nitish Kumar and Naveen Patnaik. Banerjee had deputed her Finance Minister Amit Mitra for the meet.
Terming the task of dealing with the security challenges as a “complex and onerous”, Singh said it is an endeavour that requires the united effort of everyone.
“Internal security is a matter in which the States and the Centre must work together, hand in hand, and in harmony,” he said.
Talking about Jammu and Kashmir, he said there has been a perceptible improvement in the security and law and order situation.
“As a result, the State witnessed the highest inflow of tourists and pilgrims during 2011. The Panchayat elections were successful and were more proof of the people’s desire to be able to lead normal lives free from the shadow of violence and terrorism,” the PM said.
On Left wing extremism, he said 2011 was better as compared to 2010 in terms of the number of deaths caused by Naxal violence.
“But we still have a long way to go, both in terms of including people in the affected areas in our growing economy and society, and in terms of providing them with adequate account of security,” he said.
The so called “protracted people’s war” waged by Left wing extremists against the State and society continues to target civilians and security forces, and economic infrastructure such as railways, mobile communications and power networks.
In the recent past, Naxalites have also resorted to abducting foreign nationals, he said in an apparent reference to Italian hostage crises in Odisha which was recently resolved.
Stressing that accurate and timely intelligence was a prime necessity for defeating terrorism, Singh said some progress including strengthening intelligence gathering apparatus and establishing of NATGRID have been made.
He said the situation in some of the North-Eastern states have remained complex. “There was some improvement in terms of incidents of violence, but there is no question that much remains to be done to restore calm and eliminate extortion, kidnapping and other crimes by militant or extremist groups on the pretext of ethnic identity.
“The pilferage of development funds by militant groups is hurting our efforts to improve the lives of the people of the region. Inter-factional clashes, such as those in Tirap and Changlang, are another source of insecurity,” he said.
Singh said the answers to these problems lie in strengthening the law and order capabilities of the states concerned and in reasserting and rebuilding normal democratic, political and developmental processes.
Meanwhile, under attack from several Chief Ministers, including UPA ally Mamata Banerjee, on NCTC, Home Minister P Chidambaram today said there was no conflict between the central and state agencies and they worked together on the ground to deal with terrorsts.
Addressing a conference of Chief Ministers on internal security, Chidambaram said in 2011, 18 terror modules were neutralised and 53 persons arrested and in the first three months of 2012, three modules were neutralised and 11 persons arrested.
“I wish to underline the fact that one-half of the cases were cracked through the joint efforts of the central agencies and state police concerned. This…Is the reality. At the operational level, there is no conflict between the central agencies and the state police forces.
“They work together, consult each other, share intelligence and, when necessary, mount joint operations to apprehend the suspects. In my view, such silent and invisible work of neutralising terrorist modules deserves as much praise as solving the terrorist cases,” he said.
The Home Minister’s remarks bear significance as several non-Congress Chief Ministers including Banerjee, Odisha’s Naveen Patnaik, Tamil Nadu’s J Jayalalitha, Gujarat’s Narendra Modi and Bihar’s Nitish Kumar, have opposed the Centre’s plan to set up anti-terror hub National Counter Terrorism Centre.
“..I would once again like to underscore my firm belief that, bound by the Constitution of India and working together, we can make this country safe and secure; ensure peace and harmony; and create an environment that will promote faster and more inclusive growth,” he said.
The Chief Ministers have claimed that the NCTC would infringe on the powers of the State Governments and hurt the country’s federal structure. The central government, they have stated, has not taken the states into confidence before going ahead with the plan.
Conceding their demand for discussion on the NCTC issue, the Centre has decided to hold a special meeting of Chief Ministers on May 5 to deliberate on the controversial issue threadbare.
Referring to various projects undertaken by the Centre, the Home Minister said the National Security Guards (NSG) has moved into its permanent headquarters at the four hubs and soon the NIA will set up new offices at Mumbai, Kochi and Lucknow.
“Other elements have to be put in place to complete the security architecture and I earnestly seek your cooperation and support in that regard,” he told the Chief Ministers without mentioning the NCTC issue. (PTI)