New Delhi: The Ministry of Home Affairs has extended BSF's area of jurisdiction in three states by 35 km, while cutting it short by 30 km in another, according to an official order issued on Wednesday.
As per the order, the Border Security Force (BSF) has now been empowered to take action within a belt of 50 km in Punjab, West Bengal and Assam running along the borders of India. Earlier, the BSF had jurisdiction till only 15 km in these states.
In Gujarat, the jurisdiction, which was earlier 80 km, has now been cut short to 50 km, while no change has been made for Rajasthan, where the BSF has jurisdiction of up to 50 km.
For Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Jammu and Kashmir, the order remains the same with the border guarding force's jurisdiction in the whole of the state.
Section 139 of the Border Security Force Act, 1968 empowers the Centre to notify from time to time the area and extent of operation of the BSF.
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi has come down heavily on the Centre's move, terming it as a 'direct attack on federalism'.
"I strongly condemn the government of India's unilateral decision to give additional powers to BSF within 50 km belt running along the international borders, which is a direct attack on federalism. I urge Union Home Minister Amit Shah to immediately roll back this irrational decision," the Chief Minister said in a tweet.
The leaders of Bengal have also come up against the move. Even as the change in BSF jurisdiction is being opposed by the current Punjab dispensation, former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has backed the Centre's move to empower the BSF.
"Our soldiers are being killed in Kashmir. We're seeing more and more weapons and drugs being pushed by Pakistan-backed terrorists into Punjab. BSF's enhanced presence and power will only make us stronger. Let's not drag central armed forces into politics," he said.