Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Search for an effective counter-terrorism strategy

In this recent article, (p.27-28) I have dealt with the obfuscation of the debate on counter-terrorism, and found greater merit in the institutional response which Kapil Sibal once articulated in an article, inviting critical comments from some of us.

The purpose of this post is more than just to draw your attention to my recent piece. The idea of a Federal Investigative Agency appears to have received fresh impetus with P.Chidambaram assuming charge as the Home Minister. While the UPA Government appears interested in the method of creating a FIA as proposed by the Second Administrative Reforms Commission, by amending the National Security Act it may be worthwhile to understand some of the reservations expressed by one of its critics.. The Centre appears to be of the view, according to some media reports, that Item 8 in the Union List pertaining to Central Bureau of Intelligence and Investigation empowers it to set up such an Agency with immediate effect. The effectiveness of such an Agency, whether it is created by an executive order or an ordinance, will have far-reaching implications for Centre-State relations, if the Centre chooses to ignore States' views without justification.

Incidentally, the Ministry of Home Affairs seems to have undergone a quiet transformation since Chidambaram's taking over. The emphasis on internal security in its website implicitly suggests a shift in priorities post-Mumbai, especially the phrase pointing to the duty imposed on the Centre by Article 355, irrespective of what the items 1 and 2 in States' list may convey (Public order and police), even if it is just a reiteration of the Government's policy.
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