Trinamool v Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhakhar over expanding jurisdiction of Border Security Forces

Mamata Banerjee’s stance may be ‘potentially alarming’ for the federal regime, says Jagdeep Dhankhar (File)


West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar said on Friday that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and his party’s stance on extending the BSF’s jurisdiction were “unfortunate and wrong” as he probed why only the Bengal was opposed to the Centre’s decision.

Responding to the letter from Rajya Sabha MP for Trinamool Congress, Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, who alleged that he had ignored the principles of federalism with his remark on Ms Banerjee’s directive to the police regarding the BSF, the Governor claimed that Mamata Banerjee’s statements were provocative.

“Badly crafted @Sukhendusekhar @AITCofficial @BSF_India stance. Unfortunate @MamataOfficial orchestrated ‘directives’. Bonhomie and non-confrontation between agencies needed. Thinking ‘why the problem is only in our state and not elsewhere’!” tweeted the governor.

The Union Home Ministry recently amended the Border Security Force Act to authorize the force to carry out search, seizure and arrest operations within 50 km of the international borders of Punjab, Bengal and Assam – against the previous jurisdiction of 15 km.

Bengal and Punjab passed resolutions against the order in their respective State Assembly.

The Chief Minister of Bengal has time and time again disapproved of the Centre’s decision to extend the jurisdiction of the BSF. She recently asked the police in some bordering districts to prohibit the entry of BSF personnel into the villages without authorization.

The governor wrote to Mamata Banerjee in response, saying her stance may be “potentially alarming” to federal politics and national security.

TMC MP Sukhendu Shekhar Roy, in a letter on Friday, insisted that remarks made by the governor on the matter will demoralize the state’s police force.

“It is not for the occupant of the Governor’s office to make such statements in blatant disregard of the Constitution,” he told the Governor.

Mr. Roy further said that the governor must be aware that the international border does not “penetrate 50 km into India” and that law and order is a matter of state.

Jagdeep Dhankhar’s statement “denied the principle of federalism which is a basic structure of the Constitution of India”, the TMC Chief Whip told Rajya Sabha.

Responding to Mr Roy’s accusations, the Governor said the Rajya Sabha MP had also failed to ‘consider the provisions of the BSF Act 1968’ before writing to him.

“The enormity of the ‘orchestrated directives’ from the Honorable Chief Minister to administration as BSF seems to have escaped your notice,” Mr Dhankhar wrote on Twitter, addressing Roy.

In a letter to Mamata Banerjee on Thursday, Jagdeep Dhankhar said he was deeply concerned about his “directives” to the state police.

Claiming that the position of the Chief Minister is not in line with the BSF Act of 1968 and the notification of the Center for Expanding the Jurisdiction of the Force, Mr. Dhankhar alleged: “His statements (and not mine ) are provocative. the problem is only in our state and not elsewhere’.”

He further maintained that there was no question of demoralizing the state police as asserted by Mr. Roy, and called for bonhomie and cooperation between central and state agencies.

Thelma J. Longworth