Punjab CM condemns centre over extending BSF powers; Amarinder Singh welcomes the decision
New Delhi, Oct 13: Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi on Wednesday condemned the Centre's decision to expand powers of Border Security Force's powers of arrest, search and seizure to a 50-km belt in Punjab.
"I strongly condemn the GoI's unilateral decision to give additional powers to BSF within 50 KM belt running along the international borders, which is a direct attack on the federalism. I urge the Union Home Minister Amit Shah to immediately rollback this irrational decision, [sic]" he tweeted.
However, Congress leader Sunil Jakhar blamed the Punjab CM over the development. He tweeted, "Be careful what you ask for ! Has @CHARANJITCHANNI unwittingly managed to handover half of Punjab to Central govt. 25000sq km (out of total 50,000sq km) has now been placed under BSF jurisdiction. Punjab Police stands castigated. Do we still want more autonomy to States ?. [sic]"
Manish Tewari, Congress MP from Anandpur Sahib, also opposed the Centre's decision and tweeted, "MHA Notification enhancing operational mandate of BSF, 15 to 50 KM's in Punjab,West Bengal &Assam transgresses upon Constitutional Public order & Policing remit of States Half of Punjab will now fall under BSF jurisdiction @CHARANJITCHANNI must oppose it."
However, former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh welcomed the Centre's decision on enhanced jurisdiction of the Border Security Force. "Our soldiers are being killed in Kashmir. We're seeing more & more weapons & drugs being pushed by Pak-backed terrorists into Punjab. BSF's enhanced presence & powers will only make us stronger. Let's not drag central armed forces into politics," Amarinder was quoted in a tweet by his media adviser Raveen Thukral.
In the latest notice, the centre extended the jurisdiction of the BSF from 15 to 50 km belt along the border aimed at ensuring "zero tolerance" against terrorism and cross border crimes.
It means the BSF can take action without permission from central or state governments in Punjab, West Bengal and Assam up to 50 km inside the states.
However, the BSF's jurisdiction was reduced to 20 km from 80 km in north-eastern states like Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya. In case of Gujarat, it has been reduced to 50 from 80 km. Whereas in Rajasthan, the area of jurisdiction remains the same at 50 km.