Punjab stands up to Centre’s order on extending BSF jurisdiction

The Union government has authorised the BSF 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

All MLAs, except two BJP legislators, agreed that maintaining law and order is the responsibility of the state government and for this purpose, Government of Punjab is fully competent.

The Punjab Assembly on Thursday (November 11) adopted a resolution against the Centre’s notification that extended the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF), calling it an “insult” to the state police and seeking its withdrawal.

The House unanimously passed the resolution, “rejecting” the Centre’s order, in the absence of the only two BJP members of the state Assembly.

The Union government had last month 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.

The resolution was moved by Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa. It stated that “Punjab is a land of martyrs”, “they have made exemplary sacrifices in our country’s freedom struggle.”

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The resolution stated that Punjab police is a unique patriotic force which has contributed immensely in maintaining the unity and integrity of the country. As per the Constitution of India, maintaining law and order is the responsibility of the state government and for this purpose, Government of Punjab is fully competent.

Also read: Roll back move to grant more power to BSF in Punjab: Channi tells Centre

“The decision of extending the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) from 15 km to 50 km by the Union Government is an expression of distrust towards the state Police and people of Punjab. This is their insult too,” the resolution stated.

The resolution further said the Union government should have consulted the state before taking such a major decision, adding that the law and order situation in Punjab is totally under control, and there is no need to extend the jurisdiction of BSF.

“All the political parties of Punjab have unanimously condemned the decision of Union government and have demanded that the Union Government should withdraw notification dated 11.10.2021 issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. Therefore, the Punjab Vidhan Sabha unanimously resolves that a resolution rejecting the notification of the central government in this regard may be passed, ” the resolution added.

Randhawa termed the Centre’s notification on extending BSF’s jurisdiction an “attack on the federal structure”. He also said that the House members should meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue.

Also read: Centre’s power stretch: BSF can search, seize, arrest in Bengal, Assam, Punjab

Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia told the House that the Congress-led government in the state should pass a decision that the Punjab Police would not co-operate with the BSF beyond 15 km.

Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi sought the support of all the political parties over this issue, saying it is a joint fight.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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