December 11, 2021 4:28:17 pm
Hoping the state government will pay heed to his advice, West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar Saturday once again criticised Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for her directives to the state police to prevent personnel of the Border Security Force (BSF) from entering areas beyond 15 km from the international borders.
Speaking to mediapersons in Howrah, Dhankar said, “We have borders with three foreign countries and they are highly sensitive. I don’t consider the Chief Minister’s directions to officials in administrative meetings in this situation to be right. I have written a letter to the honourable Chief Minister on this issue.”
Reminding the government of the Centre’s amendment to the Border Security Force Act and its subsequent decision to increase the force’s jurisdiction in the state, the Governor said, “When legally BSF’s jurisdiction has been increased to 50 km, I do not understand on what basis the Chief Minister is talking about (restricting BSF personnel to) 15 km. I do not know why this confrontational stand.”
In a series of administrative meetings, Banerjee has alleged that she has received complaints that BSF personnel are “entering villages and torturing people”. “This is despite law and order being maintained by the state police,” she added. The Chief Minister also asked police officials to keep a vigil and increase ‘naka checking’ to stop BSF personnel from entering areas beyond 15 km inside the international borders.
Dhankar added, “I hope BSF’s activities are not lessened. The local administration, the police and BSF should work together for national interest. I hope the state government will take positive steps. This is my request and it is also a necessity by law.”
On December 9, the Governor had written a letter to Banerjee expressing concern over the latter’s statements. “The stance is potentially alarming for federal polity and national security,” the letter read.
“In the state having international borders with Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan, BSF and Central Armed Police Forces play a significantly well-defined crucial role from the perspective of national security and containing criminal illegal activities. Mere is an obvious need to generate bonhomie and not confrontation: cooperation and not combat amongst these agencies and state apparatus,” the letter had advised.
Reacting to the Governor’s jibe, Trinamool Congress Lok Sabha MP Sougata Roy said, “The Governor is talking illogically. We have also passed a resolution in the state Assembly against the increase of BSF’s jurisdiction. Why is he going against it? Mamata Banerjee said that the police will maintain law and order in villages and streets. BSF should not interfere in that. And she is right.”
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