Extension of BSF’s jurisdiction: Punjab CM warns SAD chief Badal to not ‘misuse sensitive issue for political ambitions’
Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Monday responded to criticism from Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal over the Centre’s decision to extend the Border Security Force’s jurisdiction in border states and warned the SAD chief not to politicise the issue.
In a series of tweets, Channi condemned the “authoritarian decision” by the Centre and called it “anti-democratic and anti-federal.” He also said that the people and the political parties of the state should be united and work together on the issue and said a special session of the state assembly would be convened, if necessary.
“I strongly oppose & condemn the GoI's authoritarian decision to illogically expand the @BSF_India's jurisdiction to 50 km inside the Punjab territory. People of Punjab are greatly offended by this unilateral action. This is an anti-democratic & anti-federal decision by Modi Govt,” Channi tweeted.
The CM’s reaction came after Badal had criticised him regarding the issue and held him responsible for the Centre’s decision. Badal had pointed to the meeting earlier between Channi and Union home minister Amit Shah and alleged that the CM had given his nod to the move during the meeting.
Further, the CM also assured that a special session of the state assembly would be convened if it becomes necessary. “All Punjabis must be united in this fight for upholding Punjab's constitutional dignity and federal autonomy. If necessary, we shall convene a special session of Vidhan Sabha to address this matter,” Channi tweeted. On Sunday, Badal had asked for an all-party “at the earliest” to discuss the issue.
Channi also urged all political parties in the state to work together regarding the issue and in a stern warning to the SAD chief, the CM also asked him “not to misuse this sensitive issue for vested political ambitions.”
Earlier on October 5, Channi met with Shah and urged him to seal the international border citing concerns about illegal trafficking of drugs and weapons from across the border. It was this meeting which Badal had pointed to and criticised the CM over the Centre’s decision. The SAD chief also criticised the Centre for the move which he described was an “outright attack on the federal structure” and said it had to be dealt with above the partisan lines.
The Union government has allowed the BSF a wider jurisdiction inside border states to search, seize and arrest within a larger 50kms stretch from the international border. Previously the limit was set at 15km, several news agencies reported. Along with Punjab, West Bengal, another border state, has also been vocal about its criticism to the move, while Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma has welcomed it.