Invoking the Nagaland incident in which an ambush by the Army’s elite 21 Special Para Commandos went awry resulting in the death of 14 civilians and a soldier, at Tuesday’s administrative review meeting in North Dinajpur, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee directed the district and the state police to keep an eye on the state’s international borders as well as the BSF.
In October, the Centre issued a notification extending the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force from 15km to 50km in the border states of Assam, Punjab and West Bengal. While the ruling Trinamool Congress opposed the move strongly, the West Bengal and Punjab governments passed Assembly resolutions against it.
Chairing the meeting for North and South Dinajpur, the two border districts, the CM told police, “BSF jawans occasionally enter villages. Make sure they are not able to enter your jurisdiction. This is for all police stations in border areas: if you get reports of any incident, go to the spot and see for yourself. If necessary, talk to DG, BSF. ”
She then invoked the Nagaland incident saying, “Did you see what happened in Nagaland?”
The CM added, “I know when the BSF enters our villages. We received complaints about common villagers being tortured. Even during elections, we saw BSF personnel standing in the voters’ queue.”
She also referred to the incident at Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar district in which four people died in alleged firing by CISF personnel on Assembly poll duty back in May, as well as the more recent incident on the Bangladesh border when three persons were allegedly shot dead by BSF personnel.
On Saturday, 14 villagers were shot dead by the special force during a counter-terrorism operation in Oting village in Mann district of Nagaland. In retaliation, one soldier was lynched by the villagers. Union Home Minister Amit Shah issued a statement on the incident, attributing the incident to a case of “mistaken identity”.
The Trinamool strongly condemned the issue on Twitter.
During the meeting, the CM enquired about the BSF from the district police while discussing the law and order situation in the area. She said, “The centre has increased the BSF’s jurisdiction. They are entering our villages. But nothing can be done without informing the local police. Keep an eye on their movements. You see what happened in Nagaland. They should not do anything without informing the police. ICs often let them carry on with their work. Don’t do it. Stay alert. I also tell the BDOs to be careful.”
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