West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday directed police officials and block development officers to not allow Border Security Forces personnel to enter villages without permission, reported The Telegraph.
“There is one problem in your area,” Mamata told South Dinajpur district police officers. “BSF personnel enter villages, threaten villagers. They are even seen in voting queues. See what happened in Nagaland. Sitalkuchi [incident] happened, recently three people were killed in Cooch Behar.”
Banerjee was referring to three separate incidents in which security personnel had opened fire on civilians and killed them.
In Nagaland’s Mon district, fourteen civilians were killed in incidents of firing by the security forces on Saturday and Sunday.
During the voting for West Bengal Assembly elections in April, four persons were killed in Cooch Behar district as the Central Industrial Security Force personnel had opened fire allegedly after coming under attack from locals.
Last month, the Border Security Force had shot down civilians during an during an alleged cattle smuggling bid in Cooch Behar. While the Border Security Force claimed two Bangaladeshi citizens were killed, local authorities claimed that three bodies were recovered from the spot, including one of a person identified as an Indian citizen, according to The Hindu.
On Tuesday, Banerjee claimed that the Border Security Force personnel were entering areas of Murshidabad, Malda, North Dinajpur and South Dinajpur districts, reported The Hindu.
She said that law and order was a state subject, and in such cases block development officers and inspector in-charge of police stations should tell the security forces “that this is not your jurisdiction”.
Meanwhile, Acting Director General of Police Manoj Malviya assured the chief minister that he has spoke to the director general of the Border Security Force. The police, he said, were not giving the personnel permission to enter the districts.
Banerjee’s statement assumes significance as the Centre in October had enhanced the powers of the Border Security Force to “arrest, search and seize” within 50 kilometres from the international boundary in West Bengal, Punjab and Assam. In all the three states, the Border Security Force’s area of operation was earlier up to 15 kilometres from the international border.
The Trinamool Congress had opposed the move, saying it was an infringement on the rights of the state.