DG BSF explains need for 50km jurisdiction, says demographic imbalance is one reason for decision

As West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and his Punjab counterpart Charanjit Singh Channi oppose extending the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) to 50 km inside the international border , BSF Director General Pankaj Kumar Singh said that a greater degree the demographic imbalance in the neighboring states was one of the main reasons for the Center’s decision.

The DG of the FBS said it on November 30 during a press conference ahead of the 57and Strength lifting day.

The CEO of BSF said that over time the demographic balance in border states like West Bengal and Assam has been upset. he said a survey by the BSF confirmed the demographic changes.

He said it was one of the probable reasons for the Narendra Modi government extending the jurisdiction of the BSF from 15 km to 50 km in Punjab, Assam and West Bengal.

The DG said India was facing large-scale infiltration. Whether in Assam or West Bengal, the demographic balance has been upset to a large extent, he said.

“Demography has changed and states like Assam and Tripura have experienced unrest due to these reasons. In many districts of West Bengal, the population structure has changed. I wouldn’t just call them refugees. That’s probably why the Center decided to expand the BSF’s jurisdiction to help state police catch infiltrators,” he said.

The infiltration caused demographic imbalances and changed voting habitss

Referring to a survey conducted by the BSF in some border villages, he said that the demographic changes were very clear. He further pointed out that even the voting patterns have changed in some border districts.

BSF denies parallel policing

The DG of the BSF clarified that the allegations that paramilitary forces could start carrying out parallel policing activities in the states concerned are false. He said the authority to investigate the case and file the indictment would remain with the relevant state police. He explained the context in which the Center extended the jurisdiction of the OSB.

He said that the Center issued a notification basically in the context of the Passports Act and the Passports (Entry to India) Act, the former dealing with persons leaving the country and the latter with persons entering the country. . The notification is only intended to control the infiltration and the demographic imbalance and to support the local police.

DG BSF clarifies competence of central forces and agencies

He said that not only the paramilitary forces, but there are also many other forces and agencies that have the power to operate anywhere in the country.

“If someone is carrying weapons and ammunition, the BSF can take action under the provisions of the Weapons Act,” he said, adding that the BSF had been doing so within the rules for 25 years.

“In India, not only the BSF, there are six to seven different forces that can operate wherever they are deployed. Even if these forces are deployed 500 km from the border, they can act against such elements,” he said.

DG BSF explained that there are several other laws that allow BSF to stop illegal activities in border states, such as the Arms Act and the Customs Act. The current changes are made in only 3 sections of 2 laws and are only aimed at preventing illegal border crossings from inside or outside.

The center issues a notification to extend the jurisdiction of the BSF to the BSF

On October 11, the Home Office issued a Notice to make changes to the 2014 Notice which addresses the jurisdiction of BSFs along the borders where they have been deployed.

Therefore, the 2021 notification described the new jurisdiction as “the whole area comprised within the states of Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya and the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, and much of the area comprised within a 50 km belt in the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, West Bengal and Assam, bordering the borders of India”.

The 2014 notification covered “the whole area comprised in the states of Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya, as well as a large part of the areas comprised within an 80 km belt in Gujarat, 50 km in Rajasthan and 15 km in Punjab, Bengal and Assam, bordering India.

Opposition parties oppose new jurisdiction

Congress-led Punjab and Trinamool Congress-led Bengal (TMC) have vehemently opposed the extension of jurisdiction. While Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi called it a direct attack on federalism, West Bengal Transport Minister Firhad Hakim accused the Center of trying to interfere in business states through central agencies. Mamata Banerjee met Prime Minister Narendra mod to demand removal of extended jurisdiction.

Thelma J. Longworth