In a letter to the Prime Minister today, Ms Jayalalithaa recalled her previous letters dated 17th February 2012 and 20th February 2012 in which she had recorded her strong objections to the constitution of the National Counter Terrorism Centre without any process of consultation with the States. Ms Jayalalithaa noted that she had also, through those letters, drawn the Prime Minister's attention to certain provisions in the office memorandum of the Home Ministry which trampled upon the legitimate rights of the State Governments enshrined in the Constitution.
The Chief Minister said she was now surprised that instead of a response from the Prime Minister, a communication had been sent by the Home Ministry to the Chief Secretary of the Government of Tamil Nadu requesting him to attend an official meeting on 12th of March, 2012, along with the State Home Secretary and the Director General of Police for discussing the provisions relating to the office memorandum on the NCTC.
Ms Jayalalithaa reiterated that the constitution of the NCTC was an attack on the federal structure of the Constitutional framework. Further, when contemplating a Counter Terrorism Centre at the national level, a process of consultation through a formal communication should have been initiated with the States, particularly when the State Governments and the Union Home Ministry have to work together in a co-ordinated fashion to eliminate the scourge of terrorism.
The proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre would be a non-starter without the involvement of the State Governments. All State Governments were concerned about the proper maintenance of public peace and order and hence paid maximum attention to it, she added. The Chief Minister said she had enunciated in detail the steps that had been taken by her to counter terrorism and suggested the way forward. The availability and transmission of advance intelligence, remaining in a state of alertness and modernization of equipment, coupled with advanced training, were the key elements of any anti-terrorism establishment. Tinkering with a few provisions such as renaming the Designated Authority or arming the Intelligence Bureau with the power of arrest and seizure, or dictating to State Governments about the formation of Inter-State Intelligence Support Teams would hardly help in this fight against terrorism, she added.
Ms Jayalalithaa stated that terrorism was an evil monster that should be eradicated with ruthless aggression. The States and the Centre should work together in this endeavour. The fight against terrorism was a national priority. A meeting chaired by the Union Home Secretary would not serve the purpose, since larger issues concerning the Constitution were involved and particularly when many Chief Ministers had expressed their concerns to the Prime Minister directly.
Ms Jayalalithaa said she had, however, instructed the Chief Secretary, the Home Secretary and the Director General of Police of Tamil Nadu to attend the Home Ministry’s meeting scheduled for the 12th of March, 2012.
She requested the Prime Minister to convene a meeting with the Chief Ministers of all the States at his level after circulating a background paper that would speak about the respective roles of the Centre and the States and offer insights as to how they could work together in this national effort.