BSF jurisdiction: Punjab assembly unanimously passes resolution against Centre’s move

Punjab government to also challenge the notification on BSF jurisdiction in the Punjab and Haryana high court
The Punjab assembly unanimously passed a resolution against the Union home ministry decision to increase the BSF jurisdiction from 15km to 50km in the border state. (HT Photo)
The Punjab assembly unanimously passed a resolution against the Union home ministry decision to increase the BSF jurisdiction from 15km to 50km in the border state. (HT Photo)
Updated on Nov 12, 2021 01:48 AM IST
Copy Link
By, Chandigarh

The Punjab Vidhan Sabha on Thursday passed a resolution against the Centre’s notification that extended the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) up to 50km inside the international border even as the opposition parties questioned the delay by the Congress government in moving the Supreme Court against the order. This was the last assembly session during the tenure of the present Congress government.

The resolution was adopted unanimously by the state assembly, “rejecting” the Union home ministry’s October 11 order in the absence of the two members of the Bharatiya Janata Party, which is in power at the Centre, from the House. Former chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh, who quit the Congress last month and has backed the extension in BSF’s operational remit, also did not attend the proceedings.

All other parties, including the opposition Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), supported the official resolution on the concluding day of the two-day special session convened after an all-party meeting resolved to oppose and reject the Union government’s notification. However, both AAP and SAD also questioned the delay in challenging the notification in the apex court. The Centre had amended the BSF Act to authorise the border guarding force to carry out “arrest, search and seizure” within 50km, up from the existing 15km, from the international border in Punjab, West Bengal and Assam.

Deputy chief minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, who holds the home portfolio, moved the resolution demanding the withdrawal of the Centre’s directive. Terming the Centre’s move “an attack on the federal structure”, Randhawa said the state government will challenge the notification in the Punjab and Haryana high court. “As per the Constitution of India, maintaining law and order is the responsibility of the state government, and for this purpose, government of Punjab is fully competent. The decision of extending the jurisdiction of the BSF by the Union government is an expression of distrust towards the police and people of Punjab. This is their insult,” the resolution stated, stressing on prior consultation.

Citing a letter written by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2012 to the then UPA government as the Gujarat chief minister against a similar move that separate state was being created within the state, Randhawa suggested that the House members should meet the PM over the issue. As SAD and AAP members rose to speak on the matter, speaker Rana KP Singh and parliamentary affairs minister Brahm Mohindra said there was no need for debate as the matter had already been discussed at length in the all-party meeting. The speaker later allowed the members to give their suggestions.

Raising the issue of delay in moving the SC against the notification, SAD member Birkam Singh Majithia said the Congress government in the state should also take a decision that the Punjab police would not give cooperation to the BSF beyond 15km. He then hit out at Randhawa for allowing the BSF into the state by asking for their deployment in jails for security. “What purpose will the resolution serve? There have been 16 resolutions so far, but none has been implemented,” he said.

While finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal said he (Majithia) was trying to gain political advantage on this issue, chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi said this was not one person’s fight and they (political parties) were all together in it. Congress member Navjot Singh Sidhu asked why the Akali Dal chief (Sukhbir Singh Badal) did not attend the all-party meeting on such an important issue.

Kharar MLA Kanwar Sandhu suggested that the Punjab government should get in touch with other states such as Rajasthan, Gujarat and J&K and together press for an amendment in the BSF Act to incorporate a clause regarding prior consultation with states before any such changes. SAD (Sanyukt) member Parminder Singh Dhindsa and AAP member Aman Arora asked the CM to share the details of his meeting with the PM and Union home minister Amit Shah after which the Centre issued the BSF notification. “We should have acted promptly after the MHA came out with this directive. It has been one month, but we are still discussing what needs to be done. Why it (directive) has not been challenged in SC,” Arora asked. Leader of Opposition Harpal Singh Cheema suggested a resolution against former chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh in the House for repeatedly raising the bogey of security, asking the CM what was his (Channi’s) deal with PM and Amit Shah on the BSF issue.

Hitting back, Channi said the SAD always saw everything through the narrow prism of politics, especially the issues of utmost importance to Punjab such as devolution of more powers to states, transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab. “They allowed entry to the BJP and RSS in Punjab. They became the gateway through which the RSS, which has always been inimical to the interests of Punjab, managed to make inroads in the State. When the RSS and its political wing the BJP undermined the federal structure of the country by revoking the Article 370 not only did the Akalis sided with the BJP but SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal spoke in its favour,” he said,

On meeting Modi and Shah, Channi said that his meetings with them were a courtesy call. “The Akalis have chosen to forget very conveniently that I wrote letters to the Union Government emphasizing the reopening of the Kartarpur corridor, besides pleading with it repeatedly to roll back the three draconian agricultural farm laws,” he added, categorically stating that he never asked them to increase the jurisdiction of the BSF in the state. However, AAP and SAD members were not satisfied with his reply. They started protesting and entered the well of the House, raising slogans against the state government, before staging symbolic walkouts, separately.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    A senior assistant editor, Navneet Sharma leads the Punjab bureau for Hindustan Times. He writes on politics, public affairs, civil services and the energy sector.

Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • 60year-old Bhanwarlal Jain was found dead in Manasa on Friday. (Video grab)

    Madhya Pradesh: Man thrashed for not showing Aadhar card, found dead

    A man was found dead after The deceased Bhanwarlal Jain, 60, a resident of Sarsi village of Ratlam was beaten up brutally for not showing his Aadhar Card Madhya Pradesh's in Neemuch district, police said on Saturday. The deceased a resident of Sarsi village of Ratlam, 60, Bhanwarlal Jain, was found dead in Manasa on Friday.

  • Students are back in examination halls as Delhi University resumes offline exams. (Photo: Gokul VS/HT)

    Which exam slayer are you?

    It's exam time in Delhi University. And almost every college student has a way of preparing for tests. Some start on the first day itself when classes for the new batch begin, whereas others tend to procrastinate and wait till the day before the paper. One doesn't have to be a frontbencher, but any disturbance in the class does get on your nerves. On exam day, they are the ones who have the cool hat on!

  • Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai made an unscheduled trip to Delhi, but said he could not meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah. 

    Karnataka CM, in Delhi, dials up Amit Shah to discuss Rajya Sabha candidate list

    Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai reached Delhi on Friday for his second visit in about 10 days, triggering speculation about a rejig in the state cabinet ahead of the elections due next year. However, he told reporters on Saturday morning that he did not meet Amit Shah and rather dialled him up. Bommai's visit to the national capital had set off talks of the much-awaited cabinet reshuffling or expansion.

  • DU students are elated to get back to participating in open mic events being organised at their colleges.

    DU students hail return of open mic events: Safe spaces to exhibit talent

    Calling all singers, rappers, beatboxers, poets, instrumentalists, mimics and comedians to come and take to the stage — Delhi University's young performers couldn't wait to hear announcements like these, after two long years of being in the virtual space due to the pandemic. A third-year student of Business Economics at Shivaji College, Aayush Goel, recently gave voice to his poems at an open mic organised by the college's Enactus team.

  • The driver, an assistant director in Sandalwood, allegedly dozed off at the wheel after two days continous shoots.

    Bengaluru: speeding car knocks 1 dead, injures 3 others

    In a tragic incident, a car rammed into four pedestrians on Bengaluru's Outer Ring Road near Kattariguppe junction in Banashankari, killing one and seriously injuring the other three. The driver, identified as Mukesh, is suspected to have dozed off at the wheel, police told mediapersons. Mukesh has been arrested and taken into custody, reports said. The man who died is seen thrown into two motorcycles, one of which fell on top of him.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Saturday, May 21, 2022