Chief Minister Mr N Kiran Kumar Reddy
in the conference of Chief Ministers on NCTC at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi.
Respected Prime Minister, Hon'ble Union Home Minister,
fellow Chief Ministers, Ministers from the States, Senior Officers of the
Government of India and the States.
At the outset, I would like to thank the Hon'ble Prime
Minister and the Union Home Minister for convening this important meeting to
take the State Governments into confidence and involve them as full partners in
the process of operationalisation of NCTC which is aimed at addressing the
challenges posed by Terrorism.
Terrorism knows no physical boundaries. As we all
understand, terrorists operate across Districts, States and Countries, taking
advantage of inherent weaknesses in co-ordination among various agencies of the
Districts, the States and the Centre.
If India, as a nation have to fight terrorism effectively,
we need to look beyond the physical boundaries of the States and ensure that
there is a seamless co-ordination among various Agencies dealing with counter
terrorism, between the Districts within the State and between the States within
the Country on 24 x 7 basis.
As policy makers, we all need to work at evolving a zero
tolerance framework against terrorist violence. While evolving this framework,
we need to treat the challenges of terrorism as apolitical issues by being more
mature and accommodative. Out of every 100 attempts made by a terrorist to
strike, security agencies may succeed 99 times in neutralizing the threat but
their inability to prevent one attempt may cause a great disaster to the
fragile fabric of the Indian society.
The repercussions of a terrorist attack are not only
confined to the loss of life and the property, but it affects the overall
psyche of the nation in terms of physical and emotional well being. At a time
when the country is facing serious challenges from terrorist violence, the
concept of NCTC is a timely and well planned initiative to evolve a zero
tolerance frame work against terrorist violence.
NCTC would lead our nation's effort to combat terrorism by
analyzing the threat, sharing that information with all partner States and
Agencies and integrating all instruments of counter terrorism to ensure unity
of effort and purpose. NCTC will act as a repository of all information
relating to terrorism including the data pertaining to the incidents of
terrorist violence. NCTC is expected to provide a common platform for
integrating, analyzing and sharing all intelligence pertaining to counter
Objections have been raised over empowering of the NCTC
with search, seizure and arrest. These powers already exist under the Unlawful
Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) as amended from time to time including the
latest amendments made during the year 2008. The recent order of the Government
of India on NCTC only operationalises the provisions of the law in terms of
their implementation. The power of search, seizure and arrest under the
Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) is confined only to the offences
listed under UAP Act relating to Counter Terrorism.
The powers of NCTC in terms of search, seizure and arrests
should be read with the requirement that every such arrest made or seizure done
should be forwarded by the officer of NCTC to the SHO of the nearest police
station without any delay who in turn will take action as per the law based on
the evidence available. The SHO of the local police station is well within his
powers to take action strictly in accordance with the law based on evidence
available. This will act as safeguard against all apprehensions in regard to
centre usurping the powers of the State.
The NCTC which is expected to deal with counter terrorism
effectively, must have necessary operational capability especially in
situations where the terrorists are about to strike, escape, flee from the
country etc. The powers of search, seizure, arrest for the officers of the NCTC
is only confined to the areas of counter terrorism so as to prevent the
possibility of an imminent terror strike or prevent escape of suspect due to
delay, lack of co-ordination, leakage of information etc.
In all other situations, the intelligence agencies are
bound to take the help of local police for effecting searches, seizures,
arrests etc., in pursuance of the information available with them. The
Standing Council comprising of officers of Central Agencies as well as the
State Agencies envisaged under NCTC will ensure effective inter-state and
centre-state co-ordination in all counter terrorism related operations.
Further, for effective functioning of the NCTC, Standard
operating Procedure (SOPs) have also been designed. Depending upon the
functioning of the NCTC, the SOPs may be modified or additional guidelines will
be recommended by the Standing Council for its effective functioning. Given the
structure and functions of NCTC, it will act as an effective agency for control
and co-ordination of all counter terrorism measures including 1) Integrating of
Intelligence pertaining to terrorism 2) Analysis 3) Effective response through
intelligence based operations.
The apprehension that the Centre is encroaching upon the
powers of the States is not based on sound reasoning in the present context. I
am confident that once NCTC is operationalised, it will function as smoothly as
other central agencies like NIA which has been investigating several cases of
terrorist attacks across many states in the country.
fully endorse the initiative of the Government of India to constitute a single
and effective point of control and co-ordination in the form of NCTC to deal
with all facets of terrorism effectively.