Chandigarh: Former Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday said that enhanced power and presence of Border Security Force’s (BSF) in Punjab will only make the state stronger. He further added that central armed forces should not be dragged into politics.
“Our soldiers are being killed in Kashmir. We’re seeing more and more weapons and 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,” said the former CM as per a tweet from his media advisor Raveen Thukral.
“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 AmitShah to immediately roll back this irrational decision,” Channi said in a tweet.
Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa also criticised the centre’s move.
Randhawa has termed the Centre’s recent decision of allowing more jurisdiction to the Border Security Force (BSF) in border areas as an attempt to ‘weaken the spirit of federalism’.
“There are no justifiable reasons for unilaterally changing the existing arrangements by the Government of India, except to weaken the State Government and the spirit of federalism”, asserted the Deputy CM.
In a move aimed at maintaining “zero tolerance” against terrorism and cross border crimes, the Centre has empowered the Border Security Force (BSF) to conduct searches, arrest suspects and make seizures up to an area of 50 km inside Indian territory from International Border (IB) along India-Pakistan and India-Bangladesh borders.
However, its jurisdiction has been cut short by 20 km in the five northeastern states– Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya– where it had jurisdiction up to 80 km. Similarly in Gujarat, the BSF’s jurisdiction has been curtailed from 80 to 50 km. In Rajasthan, the BSF’s area of jurisdiction will remain the same at 50 km.
An officer of the rank corresponding to that of the lowest rank of member of the BSF is now empowered under the CrPC to exercise and discharge the powers and duties without an order from a Magistrate and without a warrant.
The officer is now empowered to arrest any person who has been concerned in any cognizable offence, or against whom a reasonable complaint has been made, or credible information has been received. A BSF officer has now been given the power to conduct a search of a place entered by a person sought to be arrested in its new area of jurisdiction.