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Former NDA allies unite over NCTC

After Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde stressed on the need of National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), the BJP and its erstwhile partners from the NDA – the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) – on Monday raised the red flag against the formation of the unit.

The BJP said the fight against terrorism must co-exist with the principles of federalism. ‘There could be no possible objection to a NCTC but its powers and jurisdictions must be within the constitutional framework,’ said leader of opposition, Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley.

Also, while Shinde claimed that West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is on board on the issue, TMC leaders had a different opinion. ‘We do not know what transpired in the meeting between Shinde and the chief minister, but we are still opposed to the formation of the NCTC as it is an infringement on the state’s right,’ said TMC leader Saugata Roy. The TMC leader also said this will be the position of the party till Banerjee makes a statement on the issue.

The BJD also expressed reservations on the need for NCTC, with party leader Bijayant Panda saying it should be accountable unlike in Pakistan which has such agencies but they vitiate the democratic process.

‘There are other countries which are totalitarian which have this kind of NCTC that are not accountable to Parliament or to anybody. They can arrest and kill citizens without having to give proper justification. Our suggestion was to have a NCTC based on the models followed in the US and the UK where there is some parliamentary supervision,’ said Panda.

Explaining why the state governments are opposing the formation of NCTC, Arun Jaitley said the Indian proposal is to have an agency which will have the intelligence functions and would also conduct operations.
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