Now Trinamool to move motion in Assembly against extension of BSF jurisdiction

Kolkata : The Ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) in West Bengal is set to introduce a motion in the state Assembly on November 17 opposing the Central government’s decision to extend the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) up to 50 km inside the international border from the 15 km limit that existed earlier.

The announcement came a day after the Punjab Assembly passed a unanimous resolution condemning the Centre for notifying the increase in the BSF’s area of operation, and termed it an insult to the people of the border state.

Sources in the West Bengal Assembly on last Friday said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee might be present in the House for the discussion on Wednesday afternoon. An hour and a half have been set aside for the debate.

“The BSF’s jurisdiction has been extended till 50 km. In protest against this decision, we have tabled a discussion under Rule 185 of the Legislative Assembly. That has been accepted. It will be discussed on November 17. Discussion of one-and-a-half hours will be held that day,” said state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee.

“… we will discuss the issue of withdrawing the notification and letter of the Home Ministry.” Chatterjee was referring to the incident in Cooch Behar district late Thursday night in which the BSF shot dead two suspected Bangladeshi cattle smugglers after they allegedly attacked a patrol of the paramilitary force. The district police have claimed that three people, including an Indian, died in the incident in the Chamta area of the Sitai community development block. The Indian killed in the shootout has been identified as Prakash Barman, 35.

The TMC’s announcement came on a day when Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla arrived in Kolkata to discuss border-related issues. He chaired a meeting with his state counterpart Bhagwati Prasad Gopalika, Chief Secretary Hari Krishna Dwivedi, Director General of Police Manoj Malaviya, and other senior officials.

Meanwhile, the Congress backed the TMC’s decision to introduce the motion in the Assembly next week while the BJP lashed out at the ruling party in the state.

“The unwritten agenda of the Trinamool Congress is to tarnish the image of the Indian defence forces, be it the BSF or the Army. It will benefit our enemy states. TMC leaders who do politics on the border are involved in cattle smuggling. The cows are not parachuted along the border. The vast area of West Bengal is reached by roads, and those roads are under the control of the police,” said state BJP president Sukanta Majumdar.

State Congress president supported the ruling party’s move, and claimed that people in the border areas do not trust the BSF. He added, “People in these areas do not trust BSF. There are many allegations against the BSF. The people of the area fear that if the jurisdiction is increased to 50 km, many problems will increase. As a result, we also demanded that the chief minister immediately convene a meeting of the Legislative Assembly.”