Government appears to have given a quiet burial to the controversial proposal to set up anti-terror hub NCTC, mooted by the previous UPA regime, as it announced on Tuesday that the plan has been "kept in abeyance". "Operationalisation of the National Counter Terrorism Centre has been kept in abeyance," Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju told Lok Sabha in a written reply to a query.
The Minister said the issue of NCTC was discussed during the conference of Chief Ministers held on June 5, 2013 but the discussion remained inconclusive. The proposal to set up NCTC was first initiated by the then Home Minister P Chidambaram but faced stiff opposition from many Chief Ministers, including Narendra Modi who was at that time heading the Gujarat government.
Those who opposed NCTC included chief ministers Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal), Jayalalithaa (Tamil Nadu), Raman Singh (Chhattisgarh) and Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Madhya Pradesh) and Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal. The then Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was also against it.
The Chief Ministers opposed NCTC on the ground that it would hurt the country's federal structure by allegedly giving unilateral powers to the central agencies to carry out operations against terror suspects. Even though the proposal was modified when Sushilkumar Shinde assumed charge of Home Ministry by giving more say to the state governments, there were few takers for the watered-down proposal. Even Congress chief ministers Prithviraj Chavan (Maharashtra), Siddaramaiah (Karnataka) and Tarun Gogoi (Assam) have expressed reservations on the revised NCTC proposal. At the June 5, 2013 Chief Ministers' conference on internal security, Shinde had said a decision on setting up NCTC will be taken only after a full consensus. The NDA government, headed by Modi, assumed charge on May 26.