Punjab rejects NCTC, says security meet an ‘annual ritual’

    By IANS,

    New Delhi : The Punjab government Wednesday rejected the central government’s move to set up the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC).

    Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said the annual meeting of chief ministers on internal security had been reduced by the central government to an “annual ritual”.

    “The NCTC is a direct interference in the federal structure of the country besides giving power to the centre to tactically intervene in the internal affairs of the states,” Badal told the chief ministers’ meet.

    The central government has reduced the annual meeting … as an annual ritual with not a single proposal or suggestion by chief ministers getting materialised during the last four years. We should not take states for a ride in the name of security,” Badal said.

    He said Punjab had singularly fought terrorism without NCTC and he did not understand why NCTC was required now.

    “Central forces, if allowed operations under NCTC, would descend on the state without assessing the sensitivity, launch an operation and move out leaving the consequences of the operations to be tackled by the states,” he said.

    Referring to the 1984 Operation Bluestar by the army, Badal said the security forces stormed the Golden Temple on the martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev when a large number of devotees were inside, resulting in a large number of civilian causalities.

    He demanded that the central government should instead help states in modernization and capacity building of security forces.

    “This meeting has become an annual ritual with chief ministers delivering five minute speeches and the union government not accepting a single suggestion,” he pointed out.

    Badal rued that while the central government was spending Rs.91,000 crore on food security, the budget for modernisation of security forces was just Rs.1,000 crore in 2000.