Amidst the political tussle over the order by the Home Ministry to give more powers to the BSF, experts associated with the security forces have mixed opinions on this. While a former DGP from Punjab feels that the Border Security Force (BSF) is well equipped to deal with new threats such as drones with ease, a former BSF ADG said it would help the organization fulfill its “primary mandate” of border security. will remove it.
According to a new gazette notification dated October 11, BSF officers can now conduct searches, seizures, arrests like their police counterparts in the border states of Punjab, West Bengal and Assam at depths of 50 km. Earlier the extent of jurisdiction for these states was 15 km. While Assam has welcomed the Centre’s move, Punjab and West Bengal have condemned the move, calling it an attack on the “federal structure”.
Meanwhile, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister S Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa also issued a statement criticizing the Centre’s move and asked Amit Shah to withdraw the decision.
Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa said that this “irrational” decision was against the spirit of augmenting border guarding forces, which are required to focus on the international border and act as the first line of defence. He said that policing in the hinterland is not the role of the force guarding the border.
Responding to criticism over the expansion of BSF’s jurisdiction on international borders, the BSF said the new amendment will bring “uniformity” to its operations in the border states of Punjab, West Bengal, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Assam – where it can now be Have work within a radius of 50 km from the border.
Earlier, the Home Ministry had notified: “The amendment, which came into force on October 11, seeks to establish uniformity in defining the area within which the BSF can operate in accordance with its charter of duties and its role and border security in its areas.” can perform the job. of deployment.”
The area under the jurisdiction of BSF in Gujarat has been reduced from 80 km to 50 km. It remains like this at 50 km in Rajasthan. In Meghalaya, Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura, Manipur, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, no boundaries have been set, as was the case earlier.
Section 139 of the Border Security Force Act, 1968, which empowers the Center to notify the force’s jurisdiction, requires that any such order be laid before each House of Parliament. The House can modify or annul these orders.
A senior Punjab Police official, on the condition of anonymity, told India Today, “The move will lead to tussles between the Center and state agencies. They will have an impact on who to be arrested at the behest of the Centre. The 50-km stretch.” Means half of the state, which includes important districts. It may also have some overlap with Haryana, which is not mentioned in the notification.”
Meanwhile, a BSF official said, “Notification was the need of the hour. In Punjab, if a drone moves beyond a 15 km area, shouldn’t we chase it? Similarly, BSF personnel are sometimes attacked- Sometimes India is attacked – on the Bangladesh border, the attackers run away, knowing full well that they cannot be chased beyond 15 km.”