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DNA Exclusive: Centre Vs states on extending power to BSF; Is it politics over vote bank?



New Delhi: Imagine that India is attacked by China or Pakistan and the army has to take permission from the state government to reach the border. What will happen if the state through which it has to pass refuses to give this permission? Today an attempt is being made to create a similar situation in India. The Central Government has increased the powers of the Border Security Force (BSF) in three borders states. But the state governments of Punjab and West Bengal are opposing it.

Zee News Editor-in-Chief Sudhir Chaudhary on Thursday (October 14) discussed the tussle between the Centre and states over the new orders extending power to BSF.

According to a new notification from the Ministry of Home Affairs, in border states Punjab, West Bengal and Assam, the BSF will be able to conduct search, raid and arrest within 50 km of the border.

These are the states which share borders with countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar, where there are frequent reports of infiltration by terrorists, smuggling of drugs and smuggling of weapons.

No matter what, there should ideally be no politics when it comes to the security of the country. But in our country, the exact opposite is happening. The issue is related to national security and yet a certain section and political parties of our country having sympathy for terrorists are doing politics on this issue.

Of the three states, only Assam has a BJP government, while there is Congress government in Punjab and Trinamool Congress in West Bengal. Perhaps, this is the reason why most of the oppositions are taking place in these two states.

The governments of Punjab and West Bengal have termed this decision unconstitutional. Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi said that under the Indian Constitution, law and order is a matter of the state government, not of the Centre. He said that increasing the jurisdiction of BSF will hurt the federal structure.

However, these claims are not true. There are many such border states in the country where BSF works within a radius of 50 km from the border.

Under section 139(1) of the BSF Act, 1968, the Border Security Force is empowered to arrest within its jurisdiction any person who is involved in, or against whom a complaint is made. Even the lowest rank officer of the security forces can take action under the CrPC i.e. Code of Criminal Procedure without the order and warrant of the Magistrate. Where the jurisdiction of BSF ends, the responsibility of security lies with the state police.

Suppose a terrorist from Pakistan is infiltrating India but the BSF has the authority to act only up to 15 km and this terrorist enters India after crossing this area in a single night. In such a situation the BSF will not be able to take any action against them. The matter will go to the state government and instead of swift action, there are chances that politics would be played over it.

The reason West Bengal and Punjab governments are troubled by the Centre’s move is that they are more concerned about their minority vote bank instead of national security.

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