Demographic change in Assam and West Bengal has been one of the main reasons for extending the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force up to 50 km – up from the existing 15 km – from the international border in those states, BSF chief Pankaj Singh said today.
The extension has become a subject of political controversy with Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee accusing the BJP of using central paramilitary forces to make political inroads into the state. The extension of jurisdiction also took place in Punjab, where the state congressional government passed a resolution against it.
Mr Singh said this change in the demographics of the districts has happened over a period of time. BSF officials point out that even the 2011 census indicates significant demographic change along the border districts.
“The demographic balance has been upset to a large extent… it has changed for some reason. There have been unrest in some states and there have been many revolts because of these reasons … even the electoral pattern has changed. in border districts, ”he said.
“So the government probably thought that the jurisdiction of the BSF was increased from 15 km to 50 km … this can help, support and complement the state police in capturing infiltrators,” Singh said.
This move, he added, will also help control cross-border crimes, including drug and arms smuggling.
The government of Bengal and Punjab, however, has expressed concern that such a decision would infringe on the powers of the state government.
Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee last week said the BJP was trying to use paramilitary force for its gains and pointed out the issue when meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Law and order in a region is a matter of state. The BJP uses these agencies like the BSF for their party activities. I will not allow anyone to take over regions by force,” she said. to India’s Press Trust news agency.
Calling the Centre‘s decision an insult to the state police, the Punjab passed a resolution in the state assembly, calling for the notification to be withdrawn.
The Center tried to reassure both states. The Union’s interior ministry described the apprehensions as “unfounded”.
“Their apprehensions are unfounded,” Minister of State for Home Affairs Nitya Nand Rai told Lok Sabha today in response to a written question.
“The extension of the territorial jurisdiction of BSF would result in better and more effective control of cross-border crimes in collaboration and cooperation with the state police,” said Mr. Rai.