Mamata Banerjee to skip Chief Ministers' meet on anti-terror body today

Mamata Banerjee to skip Chief Ministers' meet on anti-terror body today
New Delhi:  All non-Congress Chief Ministers, barring Mamata Banerjee, who had come together to oppose the Centre on the proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) and other issues, will be attending Monday's Chief Ministers' conference on internal security, which has been called by the central government.

Strengthening of counter terror capabilities and intelligence apparatus, Maoist violence, police reforms and capacity building will be high on agenda at the meeting, which would be chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The central government has already conceded the demand of several non-Congress Chief Ministers, including ally Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, to hold a special meeting of the Chief Ministers to exclusively discuss the controversial issue of NCTC on May 5.

Sources in Kolkata on Sunday said Banerjee will not attend Monday's meeting and state Finance Minister Amit Mitra will represent the West Bengal government. However, Ms Banerjee will take part in the May 5 meeting.

The conference will be attended by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, Odisha's Naveen Patnaik, Bihar's Nitish Kumar and their Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi, who have been vocal in their opposition to the NCTC. Uttar Pradesh's Akhilesh Yadav and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah would also be among those present at the meet that will deliberate on how India is being affected due to its troubled neighbourhood and its obvious consequences in the country like cross border terrorism, covert support to insurgents, arms smuggling, circulation of fake Indian currency, inflow of refugees and immigration, official sources said.

The conference, originally scheduled for February 15, had to be postponed for two months due to the Assembly elections in five states and the Budget Session of Parliament.

Active terror infrastructure in Pakistan, the growing nexus between the Naxals and anti-India forces, both within the country as well as abroad, better intelligence sharing among security forces, Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & System (CCTNS), border management, coastal security and other Centre-State issues will also figure prominently at the meeting where Home Minister P Chidambaram will deliver the opening address.

A separate session will be held later in the day and will be attended by Chief Ministers of nine states, affected by Maoist violence.

With communal violence becoming a major cause of concern for the government as 2,420 such incidents have been reported from across the country in the last three years in which at least 427 people lost their lives, the issue is likely to be flagged by the Home Minister in the meeting.

The situation in Jammu and Kashmir, which has witnessed relative peace in recent times, will be discussed intensively.

Mr Chidambaram is expected to present a report on the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast and how it has been changed dramatically with close coordination of central and state governments.

As the Home Ministry has flagged capacity building as the area of focus in 2012, the issue will get priority in the conference.

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