The Punjab and West Bengal governments condemned the decision, saying it was an attack on federalism and interference in the jurisdiction of the states. Earlier, the BSF had the right to act in an area of 15 km from the International Border in Punjab, West Bengal and Assam, now the Ministry of Home Affairs has increased it to 50 km.
New Delhi: The Central Government has amended the Border Security Force (BSF) Act to give it the power to search, seize and arrest in a large area of 50 km from the present 15 km of the International Border in Punjab, West Bengal and Assam.
At the same time, in the areas of Gujarat bordering Pakistan, this radius has been reduced from 80 km to 50 km and in Rajasthan there has been no change in the area limit up to 50 km.
The Union Home Ministry issued a notification in this regard on October 11.
“This will enhance the operational capability of the force in preventing cross-border crimes and crimes within 50 km radius in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, West Bengal and Assam,” the BSF said in a statement.
In this regard, a senior official said that the notification allows Border Security Force to commit any cognizable offense punishable under Passport Act, Foreigners Registration Act, Central Excise Act, Foreigners Act, Foreign Exchange Management Act, Customs Act or any other Central Act. shall confer power on search, seizure and arrest for the prevention of
The new amendment to the BSF Act will empower the force to apprehend any person who has committed an offense under these laws.
Border Security Forces will continue to exercise these powers in Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya and in the ‘entire region’ of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
Expansion of BSF’s jurisdiction an attack on federalism: Punjab government
The Punjab government on Wednesday took strong objection to the Centre’s move to empower the Border Security Force (BSF) to conduct searches and arrests within 50 km of the International Border, terming it an “attack on federalism”.
Earlier, the BSF had the right to act up to 15 km from the International Border in Punjab. Leaders of several political parties have questioned the intention of the BJP-led central government behind the move.
Tagging Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi tweeted, “I strongly condemn the unilateral decision of the Government of India to give additional powers to the BSF in an area of 50 km along the international borders, which is on federalism.” Direct attack. I urge Union Home Minister Amit Shah to immediately withdraw this inconsistent decision.
However, former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said in support of the move, “The increased presence and powers of the BSF will only make us stronger.” Let’s not drag the Central Armed Forces into politics.
Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa also condemned the decision and urged the Center to withdraw it.
“I urge the Prime Minister and the Home Minister to withdraw this move,” he told reporters. I don’t understand what is on the mind of the government, but this is interference and an attack on our rights.
Randhawa said that instead of resolving the issue of drones coming from across the border, the Center has decided to allow the BSF to operate within the border up to a distance of 50 km.
He said, ‘I think the Center has doubts about our nationality. I want to say that Punjabis are patriotic and love the country.
Later in a statement, Randhawa lashed out at the Center for the recent amendment to Section 139 of the BSF Act, saying it amounted to an “attack on federalism”.
He said that by giving powers of police officers to BSF officers without consulting the states or obtaining their consent, the central government is trying to demolish the federal structure of the constitution.
He said that the central government is probably doing this because they want to teach a lesson to Punjab by raising their voice against the agricultural laws.
At the same time, West Bengal Transport Minister and TMC leader Firhad Hakim said, ‘The central government is violating the federal structure of the country. Law and order is a state subject but the central government is trying to intervene through central agencies.
Congress MP Manish Tewari tweeted that the Centre’s decision is a violation of “constitutional rules” and that “half of Punjab will now come under the jurisdiction of BSF”.
He said that under the BSF Act, the force has been given a lot of powers as per Section 139, where they can arrest people without consulting the local police.
However, according to the Indian Express, a senior BSF officer said, “We will continue to work with the state police as we are doing now.” Our jurisdiction is being increased, their jurisdiction is not being curtailed. Apart from this, we can only arrest anyone, the task of prosecuting is ultimately to be done by the state police.’
On the other hand, a Union Home Ministry official refuted all the allegations and said that the sole purpose of this notification is to improve the operational efficiency of BSF and help them in cracking down on smuggling rackets.
Asked why the BSF’s jurisdiction has been reduced in Gujarat, the official said, “They had 15 km in some states and 80 km in Gujarat, so the idea was to make it uniform.” There is no need for such a large operational area in Gujarat as the BSF-protected border area is largely uninhabited due to the Rann of Kutch.
Similarly, a senior BSF official said that if Punjab has a problem of smuggling of drugs and arms, Assam and West Bengal have new challenges in the form of cattle and counterfeit currency smuggling.
“We are getting information about illegal activities in the hinterland, but our hands were tied for beyond 15 km,” he said.
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