NEW DELHI, May 6:
Terming anti-terrorism body NCTC as a “Constitutionally vulnerable” instrument which went against the country’s federal structure, BJP today asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as to why the fight against terror through POTA was “compromised” for vote-bank politics.
“When you talk of fighting against terror with a constitutionally vulnerable instrument, BJP puts forth some questions to you,” said BJP Chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad, while asking Prime Minister as to why POTA was repealed and why MCOCA was allowed in Maharashtra and its replica not permitted in Gujarat.
The BJP also raised objections to UPA government fostering fresh ties with Pakistan despite its “failure” to act against Mumbai terror attack perpetrators who continued to roam around freely in that country.
“Why was POTA repealed. POTA was an instrument that was needed by the security forces in the fight against terror. POTA has been declared to be constitutionally valid by the Supreme Court. Yet in your declaration you said we shall repeal POTA… The fight against terror was compromised at the altar of vote-bank politics,” Prasad said.
He said NCTC was a body created by an executive order under the overall control of the Intelligence Bureau having complete secrecy and no Parliamentary accountability. “That is why this issue is very serious,” he said.
Terming NCTC as an attack on the country’s federal structure, Prasad said, “BJP firmly believes that there is no contradiction between the fight against terror and the respect for the federal polity of our Constitutional democracy. Both can comfortably co-exist. The fight against terror would be fought purposefully only with cooperation, in coordination and active involvement of the state government and not by trampling upon their rights by the central government,” he said.
BJP veteran L K Advani said, “Considering the views put forward by dissenting CMs, I hope the Government will respect country’s federal structure provided for by the Constitution.”
He also said if the Centre tried to weaken this structure and empower itself by curbing the powers of states, it will not be tolerated by the states.
Prasad said the fight against terror was a national issue and the BJP would support the government on it as the party hoped the UPA government would bring about certain amendments considering the reservations of a majority of states on NCTC.
He also said the party would raise the matter in Parliament if NCTC comes into existence in violation of Constitutional properiety.
“There should be a concerted fight against terror and BJP will support the government on this. But this should not happen by violating the Constitutional propriety,” Prasad said.
He said BJP notes with “assurance” that at yesterday’s meet on NCTC, most of the chief ministers, rising above their political affiliations, highlighted the federal character of the country’s Constitutional polity and expressed their reservations on NCTC.
He noted that NCTC was not formed with law, but through an executive order and said no western country’s intelligence agency has such powers as proposed to be given to NCTC, except in the case of Pakistan’s ISI.
“All security agencies have parliamentary accountabilities. NCTC is one body which is being created by an executive order under the overall control of the Intelligence Bureau having complete secrecy and no Parliamentary accountability. That is why this issue is very serious,” he said.
“The power of search, seizure and arrest – the powers of the state police as per Constitution, are being taken away. No western country has such powers given to its intelligence agencies, except in the case of Pakistan’s ISI,” he said.
Prasad also questioned the existence of MCOCA in Maharashtra and Gujarat not being allowed to enact a replica.
“MCOCA is fine in Maharashtra … And exactly the same Act, a replica of this Act in Gujarat, you will not approve it. Upon the insistence of the Government of India, the Gujarat assembly made some amendments, yet it is not allowed. How we can fight terror and organised crime when you have these standards,” he questioned.
On the Prime Minister’s statement, Prasad said what message was being given to the nation with fresh ties being fostered with Pakistan despite the fact that it had failed to act against perpetrators of terror attacks in India.
Terming Mumbai blasts of 2008 as a shame in the fight against terro, he said all the planners and patrons of the ghastly attack in India are safe and secure in Pakistan.
“Pakistan has not acted against them till date. Even after receiving dozens of dossiers, people like Hafiz Saeed are roaming about freely in Pakistan and you are talking of fostering new relations with Pakistan,” the BJP leader said.
Pointing out that “the step-motherly treatment given over the years to non-UPA and non-Congress state government by the UPA government bears ample testimony to the government’s intention”, Prasad said, “BJP hopes the government would seriously take into account the issues raised yesterday and respond accordingly with honesty and bring about the necessary changes”.
Reacting to BJP’s contention, Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said, “So far as the NCTC is concerned, it is our considered opinion that if we have to fight terrorism then NCTC is the need of the hour.”
“Government of India is trying its best to build a consensus. We are consulting all the CMs, all the political parties. We are till now unable to build a consensus, but we are making our efforts,” he said. (PTI)
NEW DELHI, May 6: