Punjab Assembly on Thursday unanimously passed a resolution against the Centre’s decision to extend the jurisdiction of the BSF to a 50 km belt along the international border in the State.
Confirming the development, Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi said, “We are committed to protecting Punjab and if required will approach the Supreme Court in this matter.”
State’s Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa had earlier moved a resolution in Vidhan Sabha’s special session, demanding the withdrawal of the Union Home Ministry`s directive that increases the Border Security Force`s (BSF) jurisdiction from 15km to 50km in the state.
Randhawa said that the decision of extending the jurisdiction of BSF is an expression of distrust towards the State Police and the People of Punjab.
“Punjab is a land of martyrs and the brave. Punjabis have made exemplary sacrifices in the freedom struggle and later on in the wars of 1962, 1965, 1971 and 1999 and received gallantry awards. Punjab Police is a unique patriotic force that has contributed to maintaining the unity and integrity of the country. According to the Constitution, maintaining law and order is the responsibility of the state government and for this purpose, the government of Punjab is fully competent,” the resolution said.
Randhawa further said that the government should have consulted the state government before taking such a major decision.
“The decision of extending the jurisdiction of BSF from 15km to 50km by the Union government is an expression of distrust towards the state police and the people of Punjab. This is their insult, too. The Union government should have consulted the state government before taking such a major decision. The law and order situation in Punjab is totally under control. Extending the jurisdiction of BSF is symbolic of petty politics. All parties of Punjab have unanimously condemned this decision and demanded the Centre withdraw the October 11 order 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.
The Centre had in October 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 the International Border (IB) along India-Pakistan and India-Bangladesh borders.
The BSF, which was only empowered to take action up to fifteen kilometers in the states of Punjab, West Bengal, and Assam, has now been authorised to extend its jurisdiction up to 50 km without any hurdle or permission either from central or state governments.
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.