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India needs consultations on anti-terror hub: Indian-controlled Kashmir Chief Minister

(Xinhua)

09:50, February 22, 2012

SRINAGAR, Indian-controlled Kashmir, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- The Indian-controlled Kashmir Chief Minister Tuesday said the Indian Government needs to make consultations with states before setting up of National Counter-Terrorism Center (NCTC).

Omar Abdullah told reporters before making any public statement over the issue, he would share his views with New Delhi in private.

"For setting up NCTC, consultation with states is necessary," Abdullah said at a function in Magam town of Budgam district, around 25 km southwest of Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian- controlled Kashmir. "Before coming in public on the issue, I will privately share the feelings of the state government with the Government in New Delhi."

So far Abdullah had preferred silence over the issue. Despite concern shown by over a dozen of chief ministers of Indian states Abdullah spoke neither in favor nor against the setting of NCTC.

The region's main opposition pro India Peoples Democratic and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) said formation of any such agency goes contrary to the federal structure of the country.

"Federalism is important part of Indian democracy and formation of any agency which undermines the powers of state is not healthy sign for the democratic structure of the country," said Mehbooba Mufti, president of PDP. "The stand taken by chief ministers of other states is a positive sign and I hope other shades of opinion will also raise their concerns."

The region's State Secretary of CPI-M, Muhammad Yousuf Tarigami said he will oppose the formation of any such body tooth and nail as it affects the federal structure of the country and curtails the limited autonomy of the states.

The Indian NCTC is likely to become functional on March 1. The body will have an authority to carry out operations including arrest, search and seizure in all Indian states. Its operations division will have power to fly suspects out of the state and requisition the specialized forces during its operations. NCTC will not be obliged to consult the local governments.

At least 13 states, including the eastern state of West Bengal, headed by ruling United Progressive Alliance's ally Trinamool Congress, have been protesting the decision to form such an anti- terror body.

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