The Centre on Tuesday gave in to the demand of chief ministers Mamata Banerjee, Narendra Modi and Jayalalithaa and agreed to hold a standalone meeting on May 5 on the setting up of the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC).
“Following the requests of three chief ministers, the Prime Minister has asked me to convey to the chief ministers that a separate meeting on NCTC can be held on May 5," home minister P Chidambaram said.
The decision will allow the April 16 meeting of chief ministers to discuss internal security and capacity-building of the security establishment.
The government had earlier proposed that NCTC be discussed during this meeting itself. But Banerjee, Modi and Jayalalithaa wrote to Manmohan Singh to demand an exclusive meeting.
Earlier, about a dozen chief ministers had opposed the proposed NCTC and said its powers to search, seize and arrest individuals anywhere in the country undermined federal rights.
Home secretary RK Singh had last month called a meeting of police chiefs and chief secretaries to get bureaucrats in the states to back NCTC. He promised to address their concerns when the standard operating procedures for NCTC would be drawn up.
Home ministry officials said the government was open to putting in safeguards to allay the states’ fears about the NCTC’s powers to carry out operations.
“Taking away the NCTC’s power of conducting operations would kill the concept,” a government official said.