Punjab Cabinet "Completely Against" Centre's Decision To Extend BSF's Jurisdiction

The Centre has amended the BSF Act to authorise the force to undertake search, seizure and arrest within a 50 km stretch, up from the existing 15 km, from the international border in Punjab, Bengal and Assam.

Punjab Cabinet 'Completely Against' Centre's Decision To Extend BSF's Jurisdiction

The move to extend BSF's jurisdiction is not justified, Charanjit Singh Channi said (File)

Chandigarh:

The Punjab Cabinet has taken a serious view of the Centre's move to extend the Border Security Force's (BSF) area of jurisdiction in the state, Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi said Monday, adding, law and order is a state subject and the police force is capable of dealing with any situation.

The Union government has amended the BSF Act to authorise the force to undertake search, seizure and arrest within a 50 km stretch, up from the existing 15 km, from the international border in Punjab, West Bengal and Assam.

"We are completely against it. Law and order is a state subject. The state police who can end terrorism from the state are capable of preventing any incident," Mr Channi said after chairing a Cabinet meeting.

"We oppose it," the chief minister said, adding that the move is not justified.

Such decisions should not be taken without consulting the state government, he said.

A special Cabinet meeting will be called soon on this issue, the chief minister said, adding that the situation demands to dispel apprehensions from the minds of the public on this sensitive issue.

"If the need arises, an all-party meeting will be called. We will take other (political) parties along (over this issue)," he said.

A special assembly session will be convened if needed, he added.

On Sunday, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) targeted the Punjab government over the extension of the BSF's jurisdiction, saying the chief minister should answer "why he had acquiesced" to the Centre's move.

Charanjit Singh Channi further said his government will not accept the Centre's decision to allow the enhancement of BSF's jurisdiction, saying it is against the spirit of federalism. He slammed SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal for allegedly trying to flare up religious sentiments of people over this issue.

He asked Sukhbir Badal to desist from making the alleged "provocative" statements referring to the entry of central forces to the Golden Temple and other religious places.

He also asked the SAD president not to push Punjab back into the "black days of militancy" by hurting religious sentiments of people under the guise of the jurisdiction issue.

He further alleged that the Akali Dal was solely responsible for having "misled" the state's youth to take up the path of terrorism.

Anyone who rakes up such sensitive issues merely for pursuing his vested interests is the biggest enemy of Punjab and the country, he said.

Last week, the state government had taken strong exception to the Centre's decision, dubbing it an "attack on federalism". It had also asked the Centre to withdraw the decision.

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