Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], October 22 (ANI): Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Friday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to relook into the Centre's move to increase BSF's jurisdiction for arrests and searches in state and other border states and said that status quo that existed before the notification of October 11, 2021 should be restored.
He also sought a meeting with the Prime Minister on the issue.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Channi said that the BSF is trained to perform their primary duty of guarding and securing the international border and to act as the first line of defence.
He mentioned that policing in the hinterland is the duty and responsibility of the state and local police and noted that Punjab Police is a professional force fully competent to handle any law and order situation within the state.
He said Punjab Police has dealt with terrorism effectively in the past, "which would not have been possible without effective coordination between Punjab Police and central agencies".
He said that police and law and order are subjects under the state list and are looked after by the states.
"By conferring powers of police officers to search, seizure and arrest persons upon BSF officers, not only for prevention of offences punishable under various Acts but also for any cognizable offence punishable under any other Central Act without consulting the state governments or obtaining their concurrence, amounts to encroachment upon the powers and role of state by the Centre," the Chief Minister said, according to an official release.
He alleged that the Centre is "attempting to weaken the spirit of federalism and disturb the federal structure of the Constitution".
Punjab has 425 kilometres of international border with Pakistan, and more than 80 per cent of the total area of the border districts viz. Pathankot, Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Ferozepur, Fazilka and all the major towns and cities including all the district headquarters of these border districts of Punjab fall within 50 km area from the Indo-Pak international border, the release said.
The Centre has 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 the International Border (IB) along India-Pakistan and India-Bangladesh borders. (ANI)