Internal Security a ‘shared responsibility’: Home Minister

Issue No. 5 | March 01-15, 2012

The Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram has said that internal security was a ‘shared responsibility’ of the Centre and the State governments. The Minister made this statement in the light of the opposition to the Centre’s plans to create a National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC).

Chidambaram said the Centre, as part of its constitutional obligation, was responsible for protecting all parts of the country from external aggression as well as internal disturbances. “The Constitution...assigns law and order and police to the State government but also assigns the Central Government the responsibility of protecting every part of India from external aggression and internal disturbance under Article 355.”

He mentioned that the founding fathers of the Constitution in all their prudence “have made national security or internal security a shared responsibility. Irrespective of the nature of security threats or irrespective of the government in office” in any particular state, the Centre’s approach had always been to “work together” with the states.

The state governments are opposed to the NCTC, with its powers to arrest, interrogate, investigate across the country, on the grounds that it will infringe on the state’s powers and rights.

Referring to the “most troubled states — Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, southern part of Bihar and the Jangalmahal region of West Bengal — where Naxalism remains a concern,” Chidambaram said these states were not “ruled by the Congress, the party to which I belong. But as a member of the Central Government I have the responsibility to work with the states and give all the assistance they require to quell any militancy.”