Punjab Vidhan Sabha on Thursday adopted a resolution against the Centre’s notification extending the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force from 15 to 50 km
along the Indo-Pak international border in the State, calling it an “insult” to the State police force and seeking its withdrawal.
The House urged the State Government to take up the matter with the Centre and get the notification withdrawn.
The resolution was unanimously passed by the House “rejecting” the Centre’s order in the absence of the only two BJP MLAs — Arun Narang and Dinesh Babbu — who left the House just before the Deputy Chief Minister-cum-Home Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa was to move
Notably, the Central Government had the previous month amended the BSF Act to authorise the border guarding force to undertake search, seizure, and arrest within a 50 km stretch, up from the existing 15 km, from the international border in Punjab, West Bengal and Assam.
The resolution stated that “Punjab is a land of martyrs”, and “they have made exemplary sacrifices in our country’s freedom struggle”.
“Punjab police is a unique patriotic force which has contributed immensely in maintaining the unity and integrity of the country. 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,” read the resolution.
It added, “The decision of extending the jurisdiction of the BSF from 15 km to 50 km by the Union Government is an expression of distrust towards the State Police and people of Punjab. This is their insult too.”
It further stated that the Central Government should have consulted the State before taking such a major decision, adding that the law and order situation in Punjab is totally under control and there is no need to extend the jurisdiction of BSF.
“All the political parties of Punjab have unanimously condemned the decision of Union Government and have demanded that the Union Government should withdraw notification dated 11.10.2021 issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India,” it stated, adding, “Therefore, the Punjab Vidhan Sabha unanimously resolves that a resolution rejecting the notification of the Central Government in this regard may be passed”.
Terming the Centre’s notification on extending BSF’s jurisdiction an “attack on the federal structure”, Randhawa said that the House members should meet the Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue.
Randhawa also made it clear that the Government would move the High Court and the Supreme Court over the notification, if needed.
Hitting out at the treasury benches over the Congress Government’s “double standards” on deployment of BSF, SAD MLA Bikram Singh Majithia said that on the one hand, the Home Minister is deploying BSF in jails, whereas on the other, he is opposing the BSF’s increase in jurisdiction along the border.
Majithia said that the Congress-led Government in the State should pass a decision that the Punjab Police would not co-operate with the BSF beyond 15 km.
On the contention raised by Majthia, Channi said that the draft of the resolution was passed at an all-party meeting and “all would be taken into confidence”.
Congress MLA and Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu also hit out at SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal and Akali MLA Majithia for being absent at the all-party meeting where the resolution on BSF was passed.
During the discussion over the resolution, Transport Minister Amarinder Singh Raja Warring said that Sukhbir Badal and former Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal themselves did not trust Punjab Police as they had central security forces to guard them.
MLA Parminder Singh Dhindsa also sought clarification from Channi about his meeting with the Union Home Minister Amit Shah, pointing that the notification on the BSF had been issued after Channi met Shah.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Aman Arora also questioned the timing of the Centre’s October 11 orders after Channi met Shah. He questioned the State Government over not moving the Supreme Court on the BSF notification.
AAP MLA and the Leader of Opposition Harpal Singh Cheema pointed out that former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh misguided the State on the matter of security.
Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi sought the support of all the political parties over this issue, saying that it is a joint fight.