Apprehensions of Punjab & Bengal Over BSF Jurisdiction Ill-Founded: MHA Tells LS

In a written reply, the MHA said that the move will result in more effective control of trans-border crimes.

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Apprehensions of Punjab & Bengal Over BSF Jurisdiction Ill-Founded: MHA Tells LS

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The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Tuesday, 30 November, told the Parliament that the Centre's move to increase jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) in certain states will result in more effective control of trans-border crimes.

In a written reply to the questions asked by MPs Ravneet Singh, Deepak Baij, and Sougata Ray, MoS Nityanand Rai said that the apprehensions of West Bengal and Punjab in the matter are ill-founded.

"Government of West Bengal and Government of Punjab have expressed their apprehension that such a move encroaches upon the powers of the State Government. Their apprehension are ill-founded. The extension of territorial jurisdiction of BSF would result in better and more effective control on trans-border crimes in conjunction and co-operation with State Police," the MHA said in the reply.

The Centre on 11 October issued a notification declaring the expansion of jurisdiction of the BSF in the states of West Bengal, Punjab, and Assam and increased the jurisdiction to a 50 km belt running parallel to the international borders in these states. Previously, in accordance with Section 139 of the Border Security Force Act 1968, the BSF could exercise its powers over a 15 km stretch.

In the stipulated area, the central force BSF can make arrests, conduct search operations and exercise other such forms of power.

Both Punjab and West Bengal governments have strongly opposed the Centre's move by passing resolutions in their respective assemblies.

Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi also hinted at moving the Supreme Court against the Centre over the matter. West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, in her recent meet with PM Narendra Modi reportedly discussed the matter with him and sought a solution.

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