Objecting To The National Counter Terrorism Centre

The proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) has invited opposition from around 10 state governments. The reason stated is that impacts adversely the centre-state relations or the federal structure of the Union of India, as envisaged in the Constitution. The centre considers it inadvisable on the part of the states to oppose the NCTC, as countering terrorism is the joint responsibility of the centre and the states. Some ministers and political figures from the ruling alliance have also charged the states of being politically motivated. Clearly there is strong mistrust between the two sides. The Home Minister had himself acknowledged publicly sometime ago the trust and ethics ( in governance) deficit in the country.

The ground for such mistrust of the real intentions of the central government is a sign of an unhealthy democracy. There was a very strong counter terrorism law on the statute book before the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) coalition assumed charge of the government at the centre. It was the UPA government under ManMohan Singh, which was the one that denounced the extant anti terrorism law, POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act). It played politics with national interests and encouraged terrorist outfits, called sleeper cells by the Indian Intelligence Agencies. Terrorist attacks during its regime have increased. Attempts have been made and continue to be so even now to diffuse the focus by mixing up local acts of violence, Maoist activities(also called Naxalism) and terrorism. Clearly the government lacks the will to be seen to be strong in action against the terrorists. The hesitation to chase the perpetrators of the bomb attack on the Israeli diplomat’s wife on 13 February, 2012 in Delhi is indicative of the ruling coalition’s calculations in the electoral battle in Uttar Pradesh(UP).The NCTC is a measure to trumpet its sincerity to counter terrorism to blunt the opposition’s propaganda of its soft handling of terrorism, especially before the scheduled elections to the parliament in early 2014. It is in this context that the Centre has flung the charge of politicizing towards the states opposing the notification about the NCTC, though issued without consulting them.

There have been instances of misuse of the earlier law-POTA- in some states. There were some genuine fears in the minds of the members of the minority communities. But that was not because of any inherent weakness in the law, but in the objectivity and integrity of the implementing personnel. There exists, and shall continue to be so for a very long time, a gap between the language of the law and that of the implementing agents. Whereas the aims and objectives of the  law state a certain level of thought, the agent operates in a totally different milieu. There is a disconnect. Since the conduct and utterances of more than one minister in the present dispensation have left no doubt in the mind of anybody that the law can be twisted to suit the occasion or the interests f he party they belong to at the cost of the people or the nation, the states are up in arms against the NCTC. There is good reason for such trust deficit. Our politicians are more irresponsible to our own people than the American leadership is to its own citizens or the European politicians to their own peoples ! The country lacks charismatic leadership. The nation has become the softest target of terrorists. Just see the ease with which the Israeli diplomat was targeted or the Mumbai attack was executed or dozen other such deviish missions were accomplished with complete ease. No intelligence agency comes out with the identification of the comfortable hide outs of the terrorists, which are not very far away but within less than 4 kilometers radious of the VVIP district. None shall ever, NCTC or no NCTC.

Yes, a weak central government will be easily tempted to misuse the NCTC only to embarrass a state government  out of sheer vindictiveness. The abuse of the office of the Governor in states ruled by opposition parties (at the centre) is a well established practice. In such a vitiated atmosphere, if the states have chosen to be assertive, the blame lies with the central government, more so when the most notoriouly ill reputed ministers and politicians jump to aggressively defend its actions and intentions. Who is entitled to defend Man Mohan Singh, P. Chidambaram or S. Jaipal Reddy? Who is defending them.The distinguished can be defended only by the honourable. Anything less than that is bound to prove disastrous for their reputation. Today, even children are issuing them character, competence and good work certificates ! How long can India afford to neglect governance?


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