Extension Of BSF’s Jurisdiction To Tighten Border Security
Border Security Force is one of the five Central Armed Police Forces of India, under the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. It has more than 2.5 lakh Constables and officers. It is the largest border Policing force in the world. In the last 10 years, 144 men of this BSF have given martyrdom for the country.
The Central Government has now 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 International Border (IB) along India-Pakistan and India-Bangladesh borders through an order on Wednesday. Surprisingly, the state governments of Punjab and West Bengal have started opposing it and have started politics over BSF. The move is to strengthen the national security purity but some vile people and their political masters find it more important to look at it politically.
Next such people may start to demand that even Army must take the permission of the State Government whenever carrying out any movement within a State. Today, an attempt is being made by some political parties to create a similar situation in India.
In any country irrespective of internal politics, the matters of security are always above politics. However, in our country, the exact opposite is happening. No wonder in some if the border States local politicians in league with certain corrupt local officials become Over Ground / Under Ground facilitators for terrorists and smugglers coming from across the borders.
Thus the extension of BSF’s jurisdiction is related to national security. But a certain section and parties of our country having sympathy for smugglers and terrorists are doing politics on this issue as well.
The Central Government decides the jurisdiction of BSF in the border states. Now this jurisdiction has been extended in the three states – Punjab, Assam and West Bengal.
In Punjab, earlier the BSF had the right to act within a distance of 15 km from the border, but now this distance has been increased to 50 km. Similarly, in Assam and West Bengal, this distance has now increased from 15 km to 50 km. Of these three states, only Assam has a BJP government. There is Congress government in Punjab and Trinamool Congress in West Bengal. Perhaps, this is the reason why most of the protests are taking place in these two states.
Under section 139(1) of the BSF Act, 1968, the Border Security Force is empowered to arrest within its jurisdiction any person who is involved in, or against whom a complaint is made. Even the lowest rank officer of the security force can take action under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) without the order and warrant of the Magistrate. Where the jurisdiction of BSF ends, the responsibility of security lies with the state police. Now suppose a terrorist from Pakistan is entering India by infiltrating, but BSF has the authority to act only up to 15 kms and this terrorist enters India after crossing this area in a single night. In such a situation, BSF will not be able to take any action against the terrorist and the whole matter will go to the state government and its police, where there will be politics on such issues again and if there is a government of any party in that state which is sympathetic towards terrorists then nothing will happen to that terrorist.
With the new order, BSF can take action without any restriction in 7 districts of Punjab, including the Amritsar district of Punjab. The total area of Punjab is about 50,000 square kilometres and after this decision, about 21,500 square kilometres area of the state will come under the jurisdiction of BSF. That is, in almost half of Punjab, the BSF will have more powers than before for action. Similarly, in West Bengal, 9 districts will also come under the ambit of BSF, including districts like Siliguri, Malda, Murshidabad and Jalpaiguri, from where Pakistani terrorists try to enter India. Recently, the Pakistani terrorist named Mohammad Ashraf, who was arrested by the Special Cell of Delhi Police, had entered India from Bangladesh through these districts. But now BSF will be able to take action in more area to stop the infiltration of such terrorists.
This is also the reason for the troubles of the West Bengal and Punjab governments. In these states, the governments seem to be more concerned about the vote bank of the minorities than the national security. They are worried that they will lose their powers in some matters, which can be used to gain the sympathy of a certain section of our country.
This matter is also related to the problems of vote bank politics. There are several political parties in our country, which become friends with the enemy country in the name of ideology. Terrorists are called extremists and revolutionaries.