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Dissenting notes at CMs’ meet

Though both Singh and Chidambaram said all the states were united in the fight against terror, there were several dissenting notes, primarily from the NDA ruled states.

india Updated: Jan 07, 2009 00:56 IST
HT Political Bureau

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram offered to revisit the recently passed laws to set up the National Investigation Agency, amendments to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, and amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure, after vociferous opposition from several states, at the Chief Ministers’ Conference on Internal Security on Tuesday.

Though both Singh and Chidambaram said all the states were united in the fight against terror, there were several dissenting notes, primarily from the NDA ruled states.

Though the BJP had backed the NIA Act and other stringent anti-terror laws, Chief Ministers of NDA ruled states including Bihar CM, Nitish Kumar, Gujarat CM, Narendra Modi and Madhya Pradesh CM, Shivraj Singh Chouhan expressed doubts over the new federal agency and amendments to criminal laws without consultations with states.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar demanded that the NIA seek prior consent from state governments before taking on cases not relating to terror. Constitution of yet another statutory authority, he said could end up in duplicity among various agencies. The Gujarat Chief Minister, said the very setting up of the agency was contrary to federal spirit and an attempt at “sidetracking” states in the fight against terror.

By evening, however, the PM said he had taken note of “concerns” expressed by various CMs. He said his government would examine how to harmonise the amendments to the CrPC with the provisions and intent of the NIA and UAPA amendments.