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Amarinder backs 50 km jurisdiction limit for BSF

Source: PTI
October 27, 2021 18:43 IST
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Former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday strongly backed the BJP-led Centre's move of extending the BSF's jurisdiction and asserted that the border force is not going to take over Punjab or its administration.

Singh also slammed the Congress regime in the state for opposing it and denying any serious security concerns.

The Union government had recently 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.

Pointing towards a rise in instances of advanced technology-fitted drones with increasing payload coming from Pakistan and smuggling narcotics, weapons, and explosives, he said there is something very wrong and dangerous happening at the borders, which the state cannot afford to ignore.

Singh's assertion came two days after political parties in Punjab, except the BJP, decided to reject the Centre's notification of extending the jurisdiction of the BSF by calling a special session of the Punjab Assembly.  The session will begin on November 8.

The political parties have resolved to strongly oppose the Centre's decision "constitutionally, legally and politically" to restore the status quo that existed before the notification of October 11.

Addressing the media here on Wednesday, Singh also dismissed accusations like the Border Security Force (BSF) will take over the state's administration or will be deployed at the Golden Temple. Such misconceptions are being spread by certain people to score brownie points in the run-up to the assembly elections, he said.

"The BSF will not take over Punjab or its administration. It is a total misconception. They will come for assistance to our Punjab Police," said Singh.

"The BSF is here for helping maintain national security as we are a border state," he said, calling for full support by the state to the Centre in the interest of national security.

Singh said he was not an alarmist but his 10 years of experience in the army and 9.5 years as home minister of the state told him that "something is going to happen".

"Yet a home minister who has been in his chair for one month claims to know more than me," he said, taking a dig at Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa.

"I am not an alarmist but I know something is going wrong and something is going to happen," Singh said.

He said "Pakistanis and Khalistanis" are trying to foment trouble in the state.

On drone activity, he said earlier drones from across the border used to come just 5-6 km from the international border but now with advanced technology and increasing payload, they reach 31 km.

"We have to be very careful of the clandestine war from across the borders," he said.

It is the duty of every responsible government to tackle such threats, Singh stressed, countering those who mock his concerns of national security. The state government, he said, should put the facts before the people and take their help in getting information instead of denying the danger.

"Do not deny anything, and put it before the public," said Singh as he showed pictures of drones recovered during his tenure as Punjab chief minister.

The state government should own up and take necessary action to combat the threat, he said, adding that even at the all-party meet held on the issue, it seems the political parties were not properly briefed.

While the Punjab Police is a first-class and well-trained force, it is, however, not trained to combat such threats, Singh said.

He said it needs the help of the BSF and the CRPF to tackle the problem.

The former chief minister pointed out that even in the days of terrorism, the army was helping, and nobody took over the state government's job. The BSF's assistance is essential to maintaining peace in Punjab, he said, adding that the state has been through tough times and nobody wants it to suffer again.

The Charanjit Singh Channi-led government in Punjab had earlier opposed the Centre's move and had said that his government would not accept it to allow enhancement of BSF's jurisdiction, saying it was against the spirit of federalism.

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