Punjab Cabinet Opposes Center’s Move to Expand BSF’s Jurisdiction

Opposing the Centre’s decision to expand the BSF’s jurisdictional area in the state, the Punjab Cabinet said on Monday that law and order is a subject of the state and the police are capable of cope with any situation. The Union Government amended the BSF Act to authorize the force to undertake searches, seizures and arrests within a radius of 50 km, from the existing 15 km, from the international border in Punjab, Bengal West and Assam.

“We are completely against it. Law and order is a state subject. The state police, which can put an end to state terrorism, is capable of preventing any incident,” the minister said in Chief Charanjit Singh Channi after chairing a Cabinet meeting. “We oppose it,” the chief minister said, adding that the move was unjustified.

Such decisions should not be made without consulting the state government, he added. A special Cabinet meeting will be convened on this issue, Channi said.

“If the need arises, an all-party meeting will be called. We will take other (political) parties with us (on this issue),” he said. A special session of the assembly will be convened if necessary, he added.

On Sunday, the Shiromani Akali Dal targeted the Punjab government over the expansion of the BSF’s jurisdiction, saying the chief minister should answer “why he acquiesced” to the Centre’s decision. Last week, the state government strongly opposed the Center’s decision, calling it an attack on federalism.

She had also asked the Center to withdraw the decision.

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Thelma J. Longworth