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Amid Backlash from Congress-led Punjab, BSF Clarifies Elevated Powers in Border States

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Amid backlash from Congress-ruled Punjab over the central authorities’s determination to grant powers of arrest, search and seizure deep into Punjab, West Bengal and Assam, Border Safety Pressure (BSF) on Wednesday clarified that the step had been taken to “give uniformity to jurisdiction”. Based on a brand new authorities notification dated October 11, BSF officers can search, seize and arrest, at par with their police counterparts, 50 km into Punjab, Bengal and Assam. Earlier, the restrict for BSF in these states was 15 km.

The BSF mentioned, “The modification effected on October 11, 2021, establishes uniformity in defining the realm inside which Border Safety Pressure can function as per its constitution of duties and execution of its position and process of border guarding in its areas of deployment.”

“This may also allow improved operational effectiveness in curbing trans-border crime and to an extent of fifty km from the worldwide boundary inside the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, West Bengal and Assam, operating alongside the borders of India. Earlier, the restrict was mounted to 80 km in case of Gujarat and 15 km in case of Rajasthan, Punjab, West Bengal and Assam,” BSF mentioned in a press launch.

Officers additionally advised News18 that BSF didn’t have energy to research and needed to hand over suspect/accused to native authorities. They mentioned an arrest by BSF can be relevant for restricted crime as per the Code of Prison Process.

They mentioned the BSF couldn’t be concerned in any legal act aside from circumstances associated to the NDPS Act, arms and ammunition.

The Congress-led authorities in Punjab, nonetheless, didn’t take kindly to the Centre’s transfer. Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi has condemned the 35-km enhance in Punjab, which is a border state, calling the choice of the ministry of residence affairs (MHA) “irrational”.

He tweeted: “I strongly condemn the GoI’s unilateral determination to present extra powers to BSF inside 50 KM belt operating alongside the worldwide borders, which is a direct assault on the federalism. I urge the Union House Minister @AmitShah to right away rollback this irrational determination.”

Channi, nonetheless, had met residence minister Amit Shah on October 5 urging him to “seal” the worldwide border alongside Punjab to curb trafficking of medication and weapons into the state from Pakistan. However every week later, on October 11, MHA elevated the BSF’s jurisdiction to look, seize and arrest deep contained in the border state together with West Bengal and Assam.

Whereas Punjab and West Bengal are non-BJP states, Assam is a BJP-ruled state. Punjab has already responded to the Centre’s transfer, however there was no response from the Bengal authorities as of now.

One other Congress chief, Anandpur Sahib MP Manish Tewari additionally tweeted his misgivings concerning the MHA’s transfer and referred to as it a “transgression”. He mentioned, “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 beneath BSF jurisdiction @CHARANJITCHANNI should oppose it.”

Former Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh, nonetheless, had a unique view on the matter. The chief, who just lately resigned from the chief minister’s submit, held onto his earlier views on nationwide safety. In tweets posted by his media adviser Raveen Thukral, Amarinder mentioned, “Our troopers are being killed in Kashmir. We’re seeing extra & extra weapons & medication being pushed by Pak-backed terrorists into Punjab. BSF’s enhanced presence & powers will solely make us stronger. Let’s not drag central armed forces into politics.”

He additionally mentioned: “Our troopers are being killed in Kashmir. We’re seeing extra & extra weapons & medication being pushed by Pak-backed terrorists into Punjab. BSF’s enhanced presence & powers will solely make us stronger. Let’s not drag central armed forces into politics.”

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