Centre convenes CMs meet on NCTC on May 5

New Delhi: Conceding the demand of three Chief Ministers including ally Mamata Banerjee, the Centre has convened a stand-alone meeting on May 5 to discuss NCTC which has been held up due to stiff opposition from several states. Addressing a press conference here today, Home Minister P Chidambaram hoped that a "very good outcome" will be achieved after the deliberations as everyone realises the fact that India is one of the most vulnerable countries from terror attacks in the world.

"Following the requests of three Chief Ministers, the Prime Minister has asked me to convey to the Chief Ministers that a separate meeting on NCTC can be held on May 5. I have written to all Chief Minister and I hope that they will all confirm their participation," he said. He said the April 16 meeting of the Chief Ministers will discuss issues referred on the agenda which was already circulated while the May 5 meeting will primarily discuss the NCTC.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik apart from several others have objected to setting up of the proposed anti-terror hub saying it would infringe upon the states` powers. They had been demanding that a separate meeting of Chief Ministers should be convened to exclusively discuss the NCTC as the April 16 meeting called to discuss internal security situation would not have enough time to deliberate on NCTC.

Chidambaram said he was confident that given the kind of situation in which many countries in the world, including India, faces, the Chief Ministers would respond positively. He said over 100 terror incidents had taken place in 2011 worldwide and bulk of them took place in Afghanistan, Iraq, India, Pakistan and Thailand.

"This is the area which is most vulnerable to terrorist attacks. LeT functions in this area, Hizbul Mujahideen functions in this area, al Qaeda shadow falls in this area and and al Quaeda operates in Afghanistan, Iraq and Middle East. So, I think it is important that we recognise that we must institutionalise the fight against terrorism. "There must be an institutional mechanism, institutional personnel, that is the genesis of the NCTC. The idea was accepted by the Jaswant Singh Committee, by the Second Administrative Committee. I think once we sit down, discuss these matters, I am confident that there will be a very good outcome," he said.

The Home Minister denied that there was any difference between the Central and some state governments on NCTC. He said if one reads the executive order (for establishment of NCTC) carefully, one will find that it simply reflects the legal position as was found in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and its last paragraph facilitates setting up of a Standing Council. Chidambaram said in the Standing Council, the Central government will have four members — the Director and three Joint Directors while the states will have 28 members, each state will have one member.

"So in a 32 member standing council, states will have 28 members. It is the Standing Council which will oversee the NCTC. I think there are some differences on emphasis or how to naunce a particular idea or how to rephase a particular paragraph. I think these can be worked out. Chidambaram hoped that his Ministry would be able to prepare the draft of the Standard operating Procedure on NCTC ahead of the meeting and able to share it with the state governments.