Prelims level : International Mains level : GS -II Governance, Constitution, Social Justice and IR
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Why in News?

  • A key accused in the recent serial blasts in Sri Lanka, Aadhil AX, was reportedly under surveillance by Indian agencies including Gujarat’s Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS), following the arrest of two Islamic State (IS) suspects Ubed Mirza and Kasim Stimberwala. The arrested persons were allegedly in touch with Aadhil via WhatsApp.


  • .
    Both Mirza and Stimberwala were arrested by the Gujarat ATS and are in judicial custody in Surat. They have been charge-sheeted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which accused them of plotting a lone wolf attack in Ahmedabad. Mirza is a lawyer while Stimberwala is a medical technician. As per the charge sheet filed by the NIA, Mirza, in 2017, had a WhatsApp chat with Aadhil, who is believed to be the same person involved in the Sri Lanka serial blasts, in which more than 250 people were killed.
  • The charge sheet also mentions the messages and chats between Mirza and Aadhil through social media.
  • National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC)

    • After the 26/11 attacks, Government felt the need to setup a separate body to deal with terrorism. NCTC is modelled on the American NCTC and Britain’s Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre. NCTC will derive its powers from the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967
    • The basic idea is to prevent confusion regarding intelligence inputs and also ensure that none of the police forces from the states enter into a blame game regarding intelligence sharing as one got to see during the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai.

    What will NCTC do?

    • It will have the power to conduct searches and arrests in any part of India. will collect, collate and disseminate data on terrorism. will also maintain a data base on terrorist and their associates including their families.
    • In short, NCTC will serve as a single and effective point of control and coordination of all counter terrorism measures.
    • • Multi-Agency Centre (MAC)
    • • It is platform to share varied intelligence inputs coming from various agencies like the
    • • Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI),
    • • Economic Intelligence Agency,
    • • Enforcement Directorate etc. –
    • • Earlier this MAC was under Intelligence Bureau under Home Ministry.
    • • But in future, the MAC will be placed under the NCTC.
    • How is it different from US and UK model?

      • USA’s NCTC which deals only with strategic planning and integration of intelligence without any operational involvement
      • UK ‘s Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, which too plays a purely coordinating role.
      • But the Indian NCTC will have not only intelligence functions but also powers to conduct operations, raids and arrests in any part of India.

      What is the problem with NCTC?

      • NCTC was to start working from March 2012, but it couldnot be launched due to opposition from a group of Non-Congress chief ministers who say that NCTC is against the federal structure of the country. Power to Arrest without informing State Government
      • Non-Congress chief ministers allege that the NCTC has been empowered to search and arrest people without informing the state government, police or anti-terror squad in the loop. Take this scenario for example. A suspected terrorist is holed up in a state. The officials of the NCTC would have the right to enter into that state and pick him or her up without informing the state machinery and deal with him under their laws.
      • The role of the state becomes redundant with such powers and states would have no say or role to play in the fight against terrorism. This would have a bearing on the rights and privileges of the states as enshrined in the Constitution.
      • To curb this fear, Home Ministry had altered the rules. Now, the senior most police officers in all states – the Director Generals of Police and the chiefs of anti-terror squads of all states

        will be members of the Standing Council of the NCTC. They will be informed before the NCTC conducts an operation in their state.

      • And Home Ministry had also assured the State Governments that NCTC will now be able to carry out anti-terror operations only in the rarest of rare cases.

      Overlapping with NIA:

      • National Investigating Agency (NIA) was established after the 26/11 attacks.
      • So, the establishment of a new NCTC would only add to the bureaucratic tangle in intelligence sharing and counter terrorist action.
      • However, Chindu had assured that NIA is merely a predecessor of NCTC. (so once NCTC comes into operation, the NIA will function under it or will be submerged into NCTC)

      Present Status of NCTC:

      • After Pranab become President, Chindu became Finance Minister and thus Shinde became the Home Minister. But Shinde, in his first public speech, did not mention National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) or National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID).
      • That means, Home Ministry has put the idea in back-burner for now.
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