Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Wednesday criticised the Centre for giving more power to Border Security Force (BSF). In a tweet, Channi called it a 'direct attack on federalism' and urged Union Home Minister Amit Shah to roll back 'irrational' decision.
"I strongly condemn the GoI'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 @AmitShah to immediately roll back this irrational decision," Punjab CM said.
I strongly condemn the GoI'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 @AmitShah to immediately rollback this irrational decision.— Charanjit S Channi (@CHARANJITCHANNI) October 13, 2021
The central government on Tuesday empowered BSF to conduct searches, arrests suspects and make seizures within a 50 km radius of the Indian territory along the international border in Assam, West Bengal and Punjab. This step is aimed at maintaining 'zero tolerance' against terrorism.
However, in five northeastern states - Tripura, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland, and Manipur - the guarding organisation's jurisdiction has been reduced by 20 km, where it previously had authority up to 80 km. In Gujarat, BSF's jurisdiction has been cut short to 50 km from the previous 80 km.
The Home Ministry took the decision "in the excise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of section 129 of the Border Security Force Act, 1948 (47 of 1968)", making amendments in the notification of the Union government published in the Gazette of India on July 3, 2014.
In Rajasthan, BSF's authority will remain at 50 km. Earlier, the limit was fixed to 15 km in Rajasthan, West Bengal, Assam and Punjab. According to the notification, an officer of the rank corresponding to the lowest ranking member of the BSF has been empowered under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) to excise and discharge powers and duties without a warrant or order from a Magistrate.
Now, the officers have been empowered to arrest the suspect or any person against whom a complaint has been made or reliable information has been received. The BSF can also conduct a search at a place entered by a suspect. "This will also enable improved operational effectiveness in curbing trans-border crime," the order said.