Political Row Erupts In Bengal Over The Move To Extend Bsf Jurisdiction

The Centre proposed to expand the region under the authority of the Border Security Force (BSF) in three states: West Bengal, Punjab, and Assam causing a political uproar in West Bengal.

Whereas the state's government Trinamool Congress (TMC) accused the Centre of infringing on state land using rear doors on Thursday, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) officials praised the decision, stating the BSF must be granted greater authorities. TMC's position was echoed by Congress.

By the back door, the state's land is being encroached onto. TMC spokesperson and state general secretary Kunal Ghosh remarked that it was a heinous choice and that the party is carefully investigating all of this.

The Union government revised the Border Security Force Act on Monday, allowing the force to conduct searches, seizures, and arrests inside a 50-kilometre radius of the International Border (IB) in Punjab, West Bengal, and Assam, rather than the previous 15-kilometre radius.

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West Bengal has the largest and perhaps most permeable foreign borders among all the states. Bangladesh shares a 2216-kilometre international border with the state. It additionally shares a 100-kilometre border with Nepal, as well as a 183-kilometre border with Bhutan.

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, the Congress party's Lok Sabha leader, tweeted on Twitter that the enlargement of the Border Security Force's sphere of control up to 50 kilometres from some states' borders amounts to a flagrant invasion of state territory. He also added that if the Ministry of Home Affairs partakes in any Chherkhani, they will face the consequences.

The Indo-Bangladesh border is also one of the most porous, particularly in West Bengal. In 2017, 2018, and 2019, enforcement agents detained 1175, 1118, and 1351 suspects throughout the whole extent of the Indo-Bangla border in India, according to data presented to parliament by the Union ministry of home affairs in March 2020.

Samik Bhattacharya, a Bhartiya Janta Party spokesperson in West Bengal said that they are pleased with this outcome. Given that the Border Security Force greater jurisdictions, on the other hand, will not help. The Border Security Force is unable to make arrests on its own. When a drug trafficker, drug smuggler, or terrorist is apprehended, they must be turned over to municipal authorities. He went on further adding that the Border Security Force must be provided additional teeth and manpower so that they can work freely.

A similar boundary was dropped from 80 km to 50 km in Gujarat, which maintains a border with Pakistan, and it was maintained at 50 km in Rajasthan.

Saugata Roy said that it was simply a violation of the state's sovereign rights. There have been suspicions that the Border Security Force has ties with the smugglers. Allowing them to expand their operating area might be dangerous. She also remarked further saying that the state should resist this.

In a 2020 transnational livestock smuggling case in Bengal, certain Border Security Force officers are being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Senior Border Security Force officials declined to answer the question on the events or the ensuing political debate.