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Counter-terror body in its present form unacceptable: BJP

February 25, 2013 21:06 IST

Amidst a renewed debate on how to counter terror, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday made it clear that it is opposed to National Counter Terrorism Centre in its present form that gave it policing powers and said the fight against the menace must co-exist with federalism.

The party also alleged the Congress was playing politics and being "double-faced" on the issue due to which the fight was being weakened and said it was meaningless to debate the "imaginary federalism-versus-terrorism" issue.

"To blame opposition parties and to suggest that some states are not serving the national purpose is absolutely erronous and absolutely unacceptable. States and many parties are opposing the NCTC in its present structure. The NCTC's present proposal by the government is giving police powers to an intelligence agency. This is not done in a democratic institution," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar told reporters in New Delhi.

Charging the Congress with doing politics on the NCTC, Javadekar said the whole political colour to the NCTC debate is most unfortunate and condemnable.

"We condemn the Congress' approach and its effort to politicise this debate is absolutely unacceptable," he said.

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Arun Jaitley also said the fight against terror must co-exist with federalism and it was meaningless to debate the "imaginary federalism versus terrorism" issue.

"The fight against terrorism can and must co-exist with federalism. It would be meaningless to debate an imaginary 'federalism-versus-terrorism' issue," Jaitley said in response to Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde's plea for setting up the NCTC.

"There could be no possible objection to a NCTC but its powers and jurisdictions must be within the constitutional framework," Jaitley said. Javadekar said the whole NCTC debate after the recent Hyderabad blasts initiated by the Congress and some central ministers is "condemnable and misplaced".

"The whole NCTC debate after Hyderabad blasts, which has been deliberately brought into the public domain by the Congress and some elements in the government, is absolutely condemnable and it is misplaced. Nobody in the country has opposed to fight effectively against terrorism," Javadekar said.

He said nobody has opposed to effectively collect intelligence, coordination and sharing of intelligence and providing actionable intelligence or even observation of the whole apparatus of intelligence collection and collation.

 Javadekar said, "Here you are creating an NCTC framework for collecting and sharing intelligence. So, the intelligence agency, which is reporting to IB, you are practically giving the IB police powers, which is totally unacceptable. That is why, it is intrusion in states' domain also."

"Why the central government has distrust in the states' police," he said, adding that when both leaders of Opposition in Parliament have already offered "constructive cooperation" post-Hyderabad blasts in the fight against terrorism, the government should have appreciated it.

"The government should have behaved more sensibly. But instead, the government has chosen to politicise the whole issue of the NCTC. This is not the way of taking the anti-terror fight ahead," the BJP leader said.

Jaitley said the NCTC is proposed to be set up under the Intelligence Bureau and intelligence agencies should not get police powers. He cited the example of the American NCTC, which deals with only strategic planning and the integration of intelligence without any operational involvement and it is the joint terrorism analysis centre that plays a coordinating role.

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