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Bengal govt to bring resolution against extension of BSF jurisdiction

The West Bengal government is planning to bring a resolution in the Assembly against the extension of jurisdiction of the BSF in the state.

After Punjab, West Bengal will be the second state to bring such a resolution.

Earlier on Friday, the Union Home Secretary held a meeting with the state officials over infiltration and fencing of border.

The Central government had last month amended the BSF Act to authorise the border guarding 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.

Both Punjab and West Bengal have opposed the move.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi opposing the move and asked him to revoke the decision immediately because, according to her, it will have an effect on the federal structure of the country.

“See what took place at the border… ‘Law and order’ is a state subject. It’s not there in the BSF Act. There will be miscommunication between the police and BSF. We will discuss in the Assembly under Rule 185 and will place the demand to revoke extension of BSF jurisdiction,” Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Partha Chatterjee said.

Chatterjee was referring to the incident at Sitai in Coochbehar where three persons including one Indian and two Bangladeshis have been killed in the BSF firing.

“There is no need for this kind of decision. There is no need for this kind of extension. This is an effort to put a hand on the state’s jurisdiction,” MLA of Dinhata in Coochbehar, Udayan Guha told the assembly on Friday.

Alleging that BSF is hand in glove with the smugglers and infiltrators, Guha said: “They have a fencing in Coochbehar which is secure and hard to cross. They only open the gates three times for an hour each time. Now in this condition how can infiltrators enter without their help? The Central government should try to control its forces first without trying to overstep into the jurisdiction of the state.”

Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee chief Adhir Choudhury also said that the state government should make it clear to the Centre that they are unwilling to accept the move of the MHA and for which an assembly resolution is much needed. He said that the people of the bordering districts will not feel safe with the enhanced power of BSF.

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