Clarifying the intent of the MHA’s order enhancing its operational mandate, the BSF on Thursday, issued a statement that the amendment established uniformity
Clarifying the intent of the Ministry of Home Affairs’ (MHA) order on enhancing BSF’s operational mandate, the Border Security Forces on Thursday, issued a statement that the amendment established uniformity. The BSF added that as per the new amendment, BSF can operate with improved operational effectiveness in curbing trans-border crime and to an extent of 50 kms from the International Boundary within the mentioned states. Congress, TMC have vehemently opposed the new mandate calling it an infringement on state powers.
BSF: ‘New mandate establishes uniformity’
“The amendment effected on 11th October, 2021 establishes uniformity in defining the area within which Border Security Force can operate as per its charter of duties and execution of its Role and Task of border guarding in its areas of deployment. This will also enable improved operational effectiveness in curbing trans-border crime and to an extent of 50 kms from the International Boundary within the states of States of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, West Bengal and Assam, running along the borders of India,” state the BSF.
Centre amends BSF act
On Wednesday, the Centre amended the BSF Act to authorise the force to undertake search, seizure and arrest within a larger 50 kms stretch, instead of the existing 15 kms, from the international border in Punjab, West Bengal and Assam. In Gujarat, that shares border with Pakistan, the same limit has been reduced from 80 kms to 50 kms while in Rajasthan the limit has been kept unchanged at 50 kms. Rajasthan and Punjab also share fronts with Pakistan while Assam has an international border with Bangladesh. However, in five northeastern states – Tripura, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland, and Manipur – the guarding organisation’s jurisdiction has been reduced to 60 kms from 80 kms.
According to the notification, an officer of the rank corresponding to the lowest ranking member of the BSF has been empowered under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) to excise and discharge powers and duties without a warrant or order from a Magistrate. Now, the officers have been empowered to arrest the suspect or any person against whom a complaint has been made or reliable information has been received. The BSF can also conduct a search at a place entered by a suspect.
Bristling at this overlapping of powers, Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi called it a ‘direct attack on federalism’ and urged Union Home Minister Amit Shah to roll back the ‘irrational’ decision. On the other hand, ex-CM Capt Amarinder Singh stated that the BSF’s enhanced presence only makes India stronger. ‘BSF’s enhanced presence & powers will only make us stronger. Let’s not drag central armed forces into politics,’ tweeted the ex-CM.