Bengal moves resolution against Centre’s order on BSF jurisdiction extension

New Delhi: The West Bengal Assembly on Tuesday passed a resolution against the Centre’s decision to increase the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) from 15 km to 50 km of international borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh, through its state legislature. Became the second state to oppose the move. ,

On November 12, the Punjab Assembly passed a resolution asking the Center to withdraw its October 11 order. The third state affected by the change in law is Assam, where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is in power.

The motion under Rule 169 of Conduct of Business by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee was moved before the West Bengal House, and amid uproar in the House, 112 Trinamool Congress (TMC) members voted in support and 63 BJP members opposed it. did.

“We see the law as a backdoor attempt to establish central governance in Bengal. This is against the federal structure of the country. Law and order is a state subject. The Supreme Court in one of its judgments had earlier said that the consent of a state is necessary to extend the jurisdiction of the BSF but no such consent was sought from Bengal,” Chatterjee said later.

Noise was witnessed in the West Bengal Assembly as the BJP participated in a heated discussion on the issue, opposing the proposal on the grounds that the Centre’s decision was to tighten security in areas close to the borders of Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Suvendu Adhikari alleged that during the debate some TMC MLAs made statements that showed their support for illegal infiltrators from Bangladesh and their “anti-India” activities.

“A resolution passed under Rule 169 of the Assembly has no right,” the officer demanded during the debate, demanding that the jurisdiction of the BSF should be increased to at least 80 km in Bengal. He argued that Bengal has become a hotbed for terrorist groups such as the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), and cited the recent arrests of suspected JMB members in Murshidabad and South 24 Parganas districts.

Among the Indian states that share borders with neighboring countries, Bengal’s 2,216.7 km border with Bangladesh is the longest, and covers 10 of the state’s 23 districts – Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar, North Dinajpur, Dakshin Dinajpur. and Malda and Nadia in North Bengal, Murshidabad in South Bengal, North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas.

Although for the first time after independence, she has no MLA in the assembly, but the Congress and the Left have stood with Mamata Banerjee on this issue.

Bengal Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury also opposed the Centre’s move last week, saying it was interfering with the powers of the state. Left Front President and CPI(M) veteran Biman Bose wrote a letter to the Chief Minister on Monday.

“Left Front allies will protest against the Centre’s decision. We request the Bengal government to immediately register its protest over this move as it is against the spirit of federalism enshrined by the Constitution of India,” Bose wrote in his letter.

The Mamata Banerjee government decided to table a resolution in the Assembly on November 12, the day Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla came to Kolkata for a meeting with state bureaucrats on border issues.

On 26 October, the chief minister set the tone for action by declaring that she would not accept the expansion of the BSF’s jurisdiction.

“This is a direct interference with the sovereignty of our state and the federal structure of India. Law and order is a state subject. We have a lot of respect for BSF but they cannot function inside our districts. We will oppose it,” Banerjee said at the state secretariat at the time.