Indian media: Disagreement over anti-terror centre

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh strongly backs the idea of setting up a National Counter-Terrorism Centre Prime Minister Manmohan Singh strongly backs the idea of setting up a National Counter-Terrorism Centre

Media in India are discussing political disagreements over setting up a National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC) and Nawaz Sharif's inauguration as Pakistan's new PM.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has backed the NCTC, which is proposed to act as the main investigation agency for all anti-terror activities in the country.

But many state chief ministers, both from the ruling Congress and the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), expressed their reservations at a key meeting on internal security held on Wednesday in Delhi.

The Times of India says "the proposal came up after the 2008 Mumbai attacks, but has met much criticism from the chief ministers of various states, who see the move as a means to weaken India's federalism".

The Hindu sees the opposition to the NCTC as a "major setback" to the federal government's "ambitious plan".

The Deccan Herald says "the chief ministers are still suspicious about the federal government's intentions in intruding into their law and order turf".

"And like all previous meetings (on NCTC), the event remained an exercise in futility," the India Today said in a report.

In foreign affairs, newspapers in India are giving front-page coverage to the start of Mr Sharif's third innings as Pakistan's PM and have expressed cautious optimism over his ability to improve bilateral ties.

The Indian Express, in an editorial, says Delhi "must be alive to new openings with Islamabad" as Mr Sharif takes charge.

The Hindustan Times' columnist, Varad Pande, feels managing ties with the US and India, stabilising the struggling economy and curbing militancy "will be a classic tightrope walk" for Mr Sharif and he "will need nuanced strategies for each stakeholder".

The Asian Age hails Pakistan's transition from one civilian government to another, but feels Mr Sharif will find it difficult to keep the army away from important national issues.

In domestic politics, the BJP on Wednesday won six seats - two in the Lok Sabha (lower house of parliament) and three in the state assembly - in by-elections conducted in the western state of Gujarat.

Many newspapers, including The Hindustan Times, see the results as a setback for the Congress party which lost these seats to the opposition.

Spot-fixing probe

Moving on to cricket, the Delhi police on Wednesday called Raj Kundra, the co-owner of the Rajasthan Royals team, to get more information on the three players of his team who are facing allegations of spot-fixing in the Indian Premier League (IPL), The Times of India reports.

Test cricketer Shantakumaran Sreesanth was arrested along with Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila last month over allegations that they helped bookmakers while playing for the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL.

The Times of India also highlights the rising number of cases of road rage in Delhi.

Road rage, defined as aggressive behaviour by drivers, has led to serious confrontations between people and, in some cases, to murders in the capital city.

But the police and the administration have failed to find an "antidote" to it because no-one sees it as a "serious problem", the paper says.

Meanwhile, The Times of India reports another dramatic rescue in the southern city of Bangalore. On Tuesday, the police had saved a 34-year-old woman who was allegedly locked up in a room by her parents for several years.

A day later, police rescued 93-year-old Anantaiah Shetty after they discovered him chained on the terrace of his three-storey house.

His sons say they started shackling their father about a year ago because he "dirtied the house" and they couldn't clean up after him all the time, the paper adds.

And finally, The Times of India tells the extraordinary story of a Good Samaritan who helps poor patients get treatment in Delhi's private hospitals.

Ravi Saxena, a tea vendor, works for just 20 days a month and spends the rest helping poor patients receive treatment, much to the annoyance of his family who want him to concentrate on his business.

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