Chandigarh: The SAD will take out a roadshow from the Attari-Wagah border to the golden gate in Amritsar on October 29 to express “anger” against the Punjab chief minister for “agreeing” to the Centre’s move of extending the BSF’s jurisdiction.
The Union government had recently amended the BSF Act to authorise the border guarding force to undertake search, seizure and arrest within a 50 km stretch, up from the existing 15 km, from the international border in Punjab, West Bengal and Assam.
Senior Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia on Tuesday said that the roadshow will be held “to uphold federalism as well as express angst at the manner in which Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi meekly surrendered before the Centre and agreed to the extension of central jurisdiction in Punjab”.
In a party statement, Majithia said the people of the border area had not forgotten the “repression let loose” on them earlier by the central forces during the period of militancy.
“They are wary about granting overreaching powers to the Border Security Force (BSF) as they have been misused it earlier,” he alleged.
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) also stressed that there was no logic in extending the jurisdiction of the BSF from the earlier 15 km from the international border with Pakistan to 50 km.
“The main task of the BSF is to control smuggling from across the barbed wire fence. Giving them authority over a 50 km area covering 10 districts in the state virtually gives them policing rights which will in effect extend central rule over Punjab,” he said.
Majithia claimed that Punjabis were also aghast that their own chief minister had “let them down”.
He said that the CM’s explanation on Monday that he did not know about the move to increase the central jurisdiction in Punjab was not convincing at all.
“The entire sequence of events from the moment Channi met union home minister Amit Shah on October 5 and the Centre’s decision to increase the jurisdiction of the BSF in the state nine days later, points to a collusion as well as abject surrender to the Centre,” he alleged.
Majithia said, “We will carry the national flag as a symbol of pride on the occasion. Punjabis are the biggest nationalists as they have made the most sacrifices to uphold the unity and integrity of the country.”
All political parties except the BJP on Monday had decided to reject the Centre’s notification of extending the jurisdiction of the BSF by calling a special session of the Punjab Assembly.