Chandigarh [India], October 14 (ANI): Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Om Prakash Soni on Thursday reacting to the Centre's decision to extend the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) over a wide area in three states, including Punjab, said that Centre instead of taking away the rights of the states must focus on its own responsibilities.
"It is the right of the state. The Centre wants to take state's right away. Centre and state must look after their own responsibilities," said OP Soni.
He also reiterated Punjab Chief Minister's request to the central government to review the order.
Earlier on Thursday, Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi condemned the Centre's decision and said that it is a "direct attack on federalism".
"I strongly condemn the GoI's unilateral decision to give additional powers to BSF within the 50 km belt running along the international borders, which is a direct attack on federalism. I urge the Union Home Minister Amit Shah to immediately roll back this irrational decision," tweeted Channi.
In a move aimed at maintaining "zero tolerance" against terrorism and cross border crimes, the Centre has empowered the BSF to conduct searches, arrest suspects and make seizures up to an area of 50 km inside Indian territory from the International Border (IB) along the India-Pakistan and India-Bangladesh borders.
As per the fresh order, the BSF, which was only empowered to take action up to fifteen kilometres in the states of Punjab, West Bengal and Assam, has now been authorised to spread its jurisdiction up to 50 km without any hurdle or further permission either from central or state governments.
However, its jurisdiction has been cut short by 20 km in the five northeastern states-- Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya-- where it had jurisdiction up to 80 km. Similarly in Gujarat, the BSF's jurisdiction has been curtailed from 80 to 50 km.
In Rajasthan, the BSF's area of jurisdiction will remain the same at 50 km. An officer of the rank corresponding to that of the lowest rank of member of the BSF is now empowered under the CrPC to exercise and discharge the powers and duties without an order from a Magistrate and without a warrant.
The officer is now empowered to arrest any person who has been concerned in any cognizable offence, or against whom a reasonable complaint has been made, or credible information has been received. A BSF officer has now been given the power to conduct a search of a place entered by a person sought to be arrested in its new area of jurisdiction. (ANI)