Sunday, 24 October, 2021

BSF powers extended to more areas in 3 border states

BSF powers extended to more areas in 3 border states

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NEW DELHI: Border Security Force (BSF) officers will now have the power to arrest, search, and of seizure to the extent of 50 km inside three new states sharing international boundaries with Pakistan and Bangladesh, reports NDTV.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) claims that recent drone droppings of weapons from across the border have prompted this expansion in the jurisdiction of the BSF.

However, this move is quickly snowballing into a debate on state autonomy. The Chief Minister of Punjab has already protested against it.       "I strongly condemn the government's unilateral decision to give additional powers to BSF within 50 km belt running along the international borders, which is a direct attack on the federalism. I urge the Union Home Minister Amit Shah to immediately roll back this irrational decision," Charanjit Singh Channi tweeted.

The MHA claims that this decision has been taken to curb illegal activities linked to national security in 10 states and two Union Territories, but it might also raise administrative and political issues.

"It's a very politically sensitive move. The main aim of BSF is to guard borders and stop infiltration. Recent cases have shown they have not been able to guard the delineated line," a senior police official claims. According to him, this may also lead to regular confrontations with local police, and also villagers, when searches and seizures are done. "Their operational duties are around Border Outposts but with these new powers they would also operate well within jurisdictions of some states," he adds.

"If we have intelligence on any case, we will not have to wait for local police to respond and we can take preventive action well in time," counters a senior BSF officer.

As per the new notification, BSF officers will be able to conduct searches and arrests over a wider area in West Bengal, Punjab, and Assam.

 BSF has got the right to take this action under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), the Passport Act, and the Passport (Entry to India) Act.

In Assam, West Bengal, and Punjab, the BSF has got the right to search and arrest just like the state police.

The MHA has given permission for raids and arrests up to an area of 50 km inside Indian territory from the International Border (IB) along India-Pakistan and India-Bangladesh. Earlier, this range was 15 km. In addition to this, BSF will also be able to search and arrest in Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura, Manipur, and Ladakh.