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Disputes over National Counter Terrorism Center

From the Mumbai terror attacks of 1993 to 2008 Mumbai terror strike, and several in between, minor or major, posed a serious question on the ability of Indian Intelligence services (IB, RAW). These agencies primarily engaged in the activities to track down any possible and potential terror threat to India's national security. But are they doing their duties with utmost responsibility? Is a person's life in our country meant nothing to such security organizations, who sometimes die in a train blast or in an open fire at the station terminal? Many more questions like this are there in every Indian mind seeking answers, right from 1993 to 2008, but unfortunately hasn't got a pragmatic and concerned answer from our administrators and security leaders yet, besides false and stale sympathetic vows they took after each and every attack.

National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), a national level agency which would under take the investigation, interrogation and indictment of all terror attacks in the country and the cuprits involved, is one such step in the direction to counter terrorism in the country. But unfortunately, met with the severe resistance from the states' administrations, as they thought it would challenge the federal nature of our democracy. The bone of contention is considered to be the Sec 43(a) of the act which would empower the NCTC "to arrest and detain any person if the body feels that the subject is associated with a terror act (even potential)" on its own.

This provision has been widely criticized by states (primarily non congress and even congress allies) alleging central domination on state powers and authority. Law and order is a state subject and in this case NCTC will have overriding powers and none of the state police will have the mandate to interfere. Though Sec 43(b) says that the body will have to submit a reason of arrest to the concerned person as well as inform the closest police station of the state regarding the arrest.

The NCTC Act is based on the lines of the US Anti-Terrorism initiative, also known as NCTC, which has more or less the same provisions, but the only difference is that the leaders there are more concerned about their people's security and here in our country, they are more interested in pouring every critical issue, irrespective of the degree of criticality, in the political cauldron and draw out their respective cheap vested interests in order to make the reform process cumbersome and leave it indecisive.

At the national level, we have security agencies like Intelligence Bureau (IB), Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) and Commando Forces and at State-level we have Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) and police forces to take up with the issue of terrorism, which has grown in menacing proportions in the last decade or so. Terror attack on Parliament on 13th Dec 2001, 2006 Ayodhaya terror attacks on Babri Masjid by LeT, 2006 & 2010 Varanasi bombings of which IM took responsibility, repeated strikes in Delhi and 2011 Delhi High Court bombing, all are the tight hard slaps on the faces of our security chiefs and Defense & Home Ministry. Besides losing our military brave hearts and innocent civilians, we Indians have started losing something else too, which is more horrendous and worrifying as far as citizens of a Republican country is concerned, and that thing is the faith on our administrators and the sense of security that we are safe within the boundaries of our nation.

- himanshu dhumash

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