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Assam CM welcomes BSF’s expansion of operational jurisdiction

The MHA extended the area under the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force in West Bengal, Punjab, and Assam. Home Ministry extended the area under the jurisdiction of the BSF from 15 km to a 50 km belt along the country’s international borders. The Home Ministry issued this new notification on Monday. It grants the BSF the power to arrest, search and seize to a 50 km range inside the border without coordinating with the police of the respective states. The BSF can do so for the prevention of offences under certain Central Acts like the Passport Act, the Foreigners Act, the registration of Foreigners Act, and other Central Acts. Assam and West Bengal have international borders with Bangladesh when Punjab has with Pakistan.

This decision has received mixed responses from the three states. Assam Government seems to welcome the centre’s decision. Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma stated on Thursday that his government welcomed the Home Ministry’s decision. He also asserted that this move would be discouraging acts of cross-border smuggling and illegal infiltration. ANI reported in a tweet on Thursday about this. Assam’s Chief Minister mentioned that this new move would strengthen national security and national interest. Assam is the only state to receive this decision with the assurance of cooperation. Sarma’s statements came in amidst uproar by the other two states, Punjab and West Bengal.

Punjab sees this as an attack on federalism. The Punjab Government strongly condemns this decision. Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi urged the Union Home Minister, Amit Shah, to reconsider the Ministry’s decision. Minister Vijay Inder Singh mentioned that Punjabis have always stood together in times of freedom struggle or farmers protest, thus will do the same for this move. Daljit Singh Cheema, senior Akali leader of the Shiromani Akali Dal, says this is an imposition of the President’s rule through the back door, which they will oppose. He says this decision will put the State under central rule directly.

Officials of West Bengal observe this as an infringement of the federal structure of the nation and interference through central agencies. TMC leader Firhad Khan mentioned that law and order are subject of the State, but the Central Government is trying to interfere through Central agencies. TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh cited that the BSF could carry out searches with the coordination of the state police, which has been the practice for years. According to him, the new amendment attacks the federal structure.

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Tags: #westbengal #assam #punjab #bsf #mha #bordersecurityforce


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