Chandigarh: Rejecting the Punjab government resolution moved in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha today (November 11) against the proposed move of the centre to extend the operational jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) from 15 km to 50 km, former Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh asked the state government not to politicise the issue of national security for petty partisan ends and motives.
"The operational jurisdiction of the BSF concerns national security and not law and order in the state, which the current powers that be in Punjab are apparently not able to understand," he remarked in a statement issued here today.
Singh said that it was sad that the government was trying to politicise an issue that concerns national security and all border states, including Punjab.
He pointed out that it is not only Punjab but the states like Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Gujarat, West Bengal and others where the BSF jurisdiction is 50 kilometres inside the international border.
The former Chief Minister added Pakistan is using sophisticated technology and highly improvised drones with a range of as much as 30 kilometres, so the BSF must get more operational jurisdiction.
"Extending the operational jurisdiction of the BSF neither infringes upon the federal authority of the state, nor questions the competence of the state police in maintaining law and order, as some vested political interests are trying to make out," he said.
Singh also made it clear that there is a huge difference between law and order and national security.
"Unfortunately people playing up the issue are unable to make out the difference between the law and order and the national security," he said, adding, "BSF like Punjab Police is our own force and not any external or foreign force coming to occupy our land."
On Thursday, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa moved a resolution in Vidhan Sabha's special session, demanding the withdrawal of the Union Home Ministry's directive that increases the Border Security Force's (BSF) jurisdiction from 15km to 50km in the state.
Randhawa said that extending the jurisdiction of BSF is an expression of distrust towards the State Police and the People of Punjab.
The Centre had earlier in October empowered the Border Security Force (BSF) to conduct searches, arrest suspects and make seizures up to an area of 50 km inside Indian territory from the International Border (IB) along India-Pakistan and India-Bangladesh borders.
The BSF, which was only empowered to take action up to 15 kilometres in the states of Punjab, West Bengal, and Assam, has now been authorised to extend its jurisdiction up to 50 km without any hurdle or permission either from central or state governments.
However, its jurisdiction has been cut short by 20 km in the five northeastern states– Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland, and Meghalaya– where it had over 80 km. Similarly, in Gujarat, the BSF's jurisdiction has been curtailed from 80 to 50 km. In Rajasthan, the BSF's area of jurisdiction will remain the same at 50 km.