Asking the Centre to desist from taking state governments "for a ride" on the pretext of security, Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Wednesday strongly opposed the proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), dubbing it a direct interference in the country's federal structure.
Taking part in a meeting of chief ministers on internal security held under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi, Sukhbir, who holds the home portfolio, reminded leaders that the consequences of operations under the NCTC would be as fatal as those Punjab had witnessed after Operation Bluestar was launched in the Golden Temple complex to flush out militants in 1984. Incidentally, the 29th anniversary of the army operation falls on June 6 (Thursday).
He said central forces, if allowed to conduct operations under the NCTC, would descend on the state without assessing the ground realities, launch an operation and move out, leaving the consequences to be tackled by the states themselves.
"How central forces act in isolation without taking the local situation into account can be gauged from the fact that Operation Bluestar was launched by central forces on Guru Arjan Dev's martyrdom day, when a large number of devotees were inside the Golden Temple, resulting in a large number of casualities of innocent pilgrims," he said. "This gross insensitivity of the central forces, instead of tackling the situation, further complicates it for the states," the deputy CM added.
Sukhbir said the NCTC would give power to the Centre to tactically intervene in internal affairs of states.
He regretted that the union government had reduced the CMs' meeting on internal security to an annual ritual with not a single proposal or suggestion of chief ministers getting materialised during the past four years.
He cautioned, "We should not take states for a ride in the name of security as Punjab has singularly fought the decade long terrorism without NCTC and I don't understand why NCTC is required now."
Sukhbir said instead of NCTC the system of sharing of intelligence by ministry of home affairs was effectively working and that this new body was not acceptable to any state.
Questioning the basic purpose of annual meeting on internal security without any substantial result, he said that instead union home minister should convene state-specific meeting individually and tackle the problem of that state.
"This meeting has become an annual ritual with chief ministers delivering five minutes speech and union government not accepting a single suggestion," he regretted.
Urging Prime Minister to pay special attention to border states and problems being created by cross border insurgency, narco-terrorism and counterfeit currency being pushed inside the country, Sukhbir Badal questioned the wisdom of union government to focus on problem when it blows on your face.
He said the problem of Naxal was more than two decade old and failure to tackle that problem till now suggests that we were adopting the wrong strategy in controlling that. He said that Prime Minister should also convene a special meeting of Border States as being done in the Naxal affected states.
Blames BSF for drugs menace in Punjab
Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said that the BSF had failed to seal the border effectively in Punjab as was evident from the record seizure of drugs by Punjab police.
Raising the issue of increased inflow of drugs and counterfeit currency from across the border, the deputy CM said: "The record seizure of drugs by Punjab police during last few years underlines the fact that the BSF directly under the control of union home ministry has failed to seal the border effectively."
He said that Punjab was paying a heavy social price due to this increased drug flow with the Centre remaining a mute spectator.
While lauding the role of Punjab police in busting two significant militant modules and confiscating large quantity of RDX, he sought centre's support in Punjab's battle against to counter cross-border terrorism, smuggling of drugs, counterfeit currency and web-based militant propaganda.