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Centre will work closely with all states, promises PM

January 06, 2009 21:14 IST

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Seeking to allay apprehensions of the National Democratic Alliance-ruled states, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] on Tuesday said that the Centre will have the 'closest possible interaction' with all states while undertaking all anti-terror initiatives.

"I would like to make it quite clear that all the anti-terror initiatives will be undertaken with the closest possible interaction with the state government and their apparatus," Singh said in his closing remarks at the eight-hour-long conference of chief ministers on Internal Security.

Noting that it is not possible to effectively fight terror without the whole-hearted cooperation of the police machinery at all levels, he suggested setting up of a Group of Officers to advise the Government about various Centre-state specific issues.

"If required, we will be prepared to carry out necessary amendments or frame appropriate rules to address the concerns identified," he said.

Singh's remarks came in the wake of reservations expressed by chief ministers of NDA-ruled states that the new National Investigation Agency would 'disturb' the federal set-up of the country and their resentment that states were not consulted before the new anti-terror laws were framed.

Referring to suggestions from some states that the NIA should be essentially limited to terrorism and not extended to other types of offences, Singh said, "This is precisely our intention and modalities regarding the functioning of the NIA would take this fact into account."

The prime minister said all chief ministers agreed that recent changes in anti-terror laws were necessary and approved of NIA.

"We have taken note of the concerns expressed at this Conference regarding the recent amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure. We will carefully examine the matter for harmonising these amendments with the provisions and intents of the National Investigating Agency Act and the Unlawful Activities (Amendment) Act," the Prime Minister said.

He said the government would be ready with its response before the next session of Parliament.

Singh said there is also an agreement that no state was insulated from terrorism and "every state must therefore remain fully prepared to deal with a terrorist attack and coordinate its response in this respect."

On a point raised about the nexus between crime and terrorism, Singh said this was a vital aspect as there was a close nexus between terrorist outfits, criminals and crime syndicates.

"Better tracking of crime and criminals will have a salutary impact on checking terrorist acts and both the Centre and the state governments have to be alive to this reality," the prime minister said.

Chief Ministers of coastal states have expressed concern about their vulnerability from terrorists using the sea route.

"We have taken note of this and a group is already working on creating an effective Coastal Command. This will work in close coordination with the coastal police to provide effective coastal security," he said, adding "I agree that we should immediately take steps for providing GPS systems, vessel monitoring systems, transponders for all ships and boats, including fishing craft."

Many chief ministers raised the issue of National Identity Cards for all citizens. "This matter will be taken up urgently," he said.

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