Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Monday said that the state government will approach the Supreme Court if the Centre does not acknowledge its concerns about the expansion of the Border Security Force’s jurisdiction in the state, NDTV reported.
Channi was speaking to the media after taking part in an all-party meeting on the subject in Chandigarh.
Earlier this month, the Centre extended the BSF’s jurisdiction in Punjab till 50 kilometres from the international border. It also extended the BSF’s jurisdiction for a similar area along the international border in West Bengal and Assam.
In all three states, the BSF’s area of operation was earlier up to 15 kilometres from the international border.
On Monday, apart from the Congress, representatives of the Aam Aadmi Party, the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Lok Insaaf Party attended the all-party meeting. The Bharatiya Janata Party was not present.
Channi said all parties at the meeting unanimously passed a resolution demanding the rollback of the Centre’s notification, ANI reported. The parties also decided that a special session of the Punjab Assembly will be held if the Union government does not do so.
The chief minister added that the political parties will hold agitations to protest the decision to enhance the powers of the BSF.
“A session of Punjab Assembly will be convened in the next 10-15 days to pass resolutions against the Central government’s notification and against the three farm laws,” Channi said.
Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu accused the Centre of making the armed forces act as a substitute of the police instead of ensuring coordination between them.
“It’s a political game,” he said, according to NDTV. “I am questioning the timing of the decision. Where is the state’s consent?”
“If UP Police can illegally detain [Priyanka Gandhi Vadra] for more than 60 hours without any valid reason, who takes guarantee of a common person if BSF detains him/her?” Sidhu asked in a series of tweets.
Mamata Banerjee raises concerns
Meanwhile, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that her party is also against the expansion of the BSF’s jurisdiction, ANI reported.
“Our border areas are completely peaceful,” she said. “Law and order is a police subject. It’ll create disturbance.”
In the areas demarcated by the Centre, the BSF has powers of arrest, search and seizure at par with the police.
The BSF, however, does not have the power to investigate crimes and the force has to hand over suspects or accused persons to local authorities, News18 reported, citing unidentified officials. The officials added that the BSF can only be involved in cases related to arms and ammunition, and the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.