KOLKATA, Feb 18 (IANS): The security of the country is a shared responsibility and the central government did not pursue any discriminatory attitude towards the state governments run by other parties, union Home Minister P. Chidambaram said Saturday here at the inauguration of the National Security Guard (NSG) hub. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee did not attend the event.
"Internal security is a very complex issue. The security of the country is a shared responsibility, it is a responsibility that is shared by the central government and the state governments," Chidambaram said at the NSG hub, located about 12 km from the airport.
"The Constitution of India, which assigns law and order and police to the state governments, has also assigned the responsibility of protecting every part of India from external aggression or internal disturbance under Article 365 of the Constitution," Chidambaram noted.
Chidambaram's comment comes a day after Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee joined her counterparts from Tamil Nadu, Odisha and Bihar in strongly opposing the just approved counter-terror intelligence hub, a brainchild of the union minister.
Banerjee has joined J. Jayalalithaa of Tamil Nadu, Naveen Patnaik of Odisha and Nitish Kumar of Bihar in raising concerns that the powers given to the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) would infringe the federal structure and the rights of state governments.
The powerful anti-terror agency, which will integrate and analyse inputs on terror threats in India, derives powers from the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) that allows the central government agencies to make arrests or searches in terror-related cases.
"The founding fathers of the country have made the national security or internal security a shared responsibility. The government of India is happy in working with state governments. We work with state governments of different political parties and we make no distinction among the political parties," Chidambaram asserted.
Chidambram stated that the central government has shown no discrimination in helping some of the most troubled states in India like Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Bihar - which face the problem of Maoism.
"The state governments of these states are not ruled by the Congress party, which I belong to, but as member of central government I have a responsibility to work with state governments and give them all the assistance they require so that they can maintain law and order and quell militancy," he said.
Chidambaram also praised the Trinamool-led state government for substantially controlling Naxalism (as Maoism is often called in West Bengal) in the Junglemahal area of the state.
"Working together, I can assure that we can fully put down the Naxal menace and rid West Bengal of Naxalism. Our approach is the same to terrorism, insurgency irrespective of nature of the threat and which government is in office. We work together with the states," said Chidambaram as he claimed that agencies of the central and state governments together have considerably improved the situation in tackling Maoist violence in West Bengal.