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Bengal context and why the jurisdiction of the BSF had to be extended

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New Delhi, Dec 01: One of the main reason for the extension of the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force was due to the demographic changes that have been witnessed in Bengal and Assam.

When the Home Ministry issued the order on October 11, it took into consideration the major demographic changes in these states. The BSF had to be empowered to deal with elements that had moved across the borders.

Bengal context and why the jurisdiction of the BSF had to be extended

Bengal and Assam in particular had seen a huge rise in the number of infiltrations. An Intelligence Bureau official tells OneIndia that in most cases, the state police owing to political compulsions have been complacent when it comes to the issue of dealing with illegal immigrants.

The problem had become so immense that Bengal has witnessed cases of land jihad and this is largely owing to the complacency and vote bank politics being played in the state.

The illegal immigrants have also played a role in acts of terror, be it at Burdwan or Bodhgaya. They have been roped in by terror groups such as the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh.

Bengal and Punjab have expressed apprehensions that this move encroaches upon the powers of the state government. Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai told the Parliament that these apprehensions are ill-found.

The extension of the territorial jurisdiction of the Border Security Force to 50 kilometres from the current limit of 15 kilometres will result in better and more effective control, the Ministry of Home Affairs said.

The Home Ministry was responding to said Ahmed, member of the Trinamool Congress in the Lok Sabha. He was seeking to know if there was any plan of a roll back of the MHA's order dated October 11.

In the order the jurisdiction of the BSF was standardised to 50 kilometres in the border states of Rajasthan, Punjab, West Bengal, Assam and Gujarat. This was done for the purpose of making arrests and conducting search and seizure operations.

The BSF however made it clear that it will not act as a parallel force to the state police in the states where its jurisdiction has been extended by the Centre.

The Director General of the BSF, Pankaj Kumar Singh in an interview with Akashvani had said that the jurisdiction was extended only in respect of the powers it enjoys under the Passport (Entry into India) Act and the Passport Act.

I would like to make it clear that in case of any operations conducted by the BSF in extended jurisdiction area, the FIR will be registered in a local police station and it will be probed by the local police, he said.

We are not going to act as a parallel force or conduct an investigation. He also said that there was misinformation being spread. The Home Ministry told the Lok Sabha that this decision was taken for more effective control on transborder crimes in conjunction and cooperation with the state police.

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