October 26, 2021 5:20:31 am
A week after the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) moved to extend BSF’s jurisdiction from 15 km to 50 km inside the international border along Punjab, West Bengal and Assam, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday reiterated that the step interfered with the federal structure of the country.
In the MHA notification, the ministry said it was amending the BSF Act, which will authorise the Central forces to undertake search, seizure and arrest within the revised jurisdiction.
On a north Bengal tour since Monday, Mamata said, “BSF earlier had the jurisdiction of 15 km. We have seen what they did in Balurghat and Coochbehar. Now, they have changed it to 50 kilometers. This is an attempt to interfere with the federal structure of the country.” She had on Sunday written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and asked him to withdrawn the MHA notification.
Referring to a similar protest by the Congree-led Punjab government, Mamata said law and order was a state subject.
“Just like Punjab, we are also protesting against the decision…. Our borders are completely peaceful, and in every state, law and order is a state subject. We have a state law and we will go with that. Now, if BSF tries to establish its jurisdiction up to 50 kilometers, it will create a problem,” she said on Monday while addressing an administrative meeting in Siliguri. Sources at the state administration said Mamata will visit Kurshiong Tuesday and will inspect damage due to landslides after heavy rainfall.
West Bengal shares its international borders with Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan. While BSF maintains vigil along the Bangladesh border, SSB is deployed at the Bhutan border. Along the Nepal border, personnel from SSB and BSF are deployed.
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