West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar has slammed Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over her recent direction to the state police asking it not to allow the Border Security Force (BSF) to enter villages outside its ‘jurisdiction of 15 km’ and alleged that her statements can create problems between the local police and the paramilitary force.
Speaking to media here, Dhankhar said, “BSF is working for the country’s safety. Regarding the jurisdiction, it was decided that they will operate in a range of 50 km. Then why does the CM talk about 15 km range and create problems between the local police and BSF?”
On December 9, the Chief Minister had hit out at the Union government for its decision to extend the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) to 50 km from the prior limit of 15 km in the state, this time directing the state’s police to not allow BSF personnel to enter villages without their permission.
Later in the day, the West Bengal Governor wrote to CM Mamata Banerjee, urging her to revisit her directives with regard to the BSF.
“In a state having international borders with Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan, the BSF and Central Armed Police Forces play a significantly well-defined and crucial role from the perspective of national security and containing criminal illegal activities. There is an obvious need to generate bonhomie and not confrontation: cooperation and not combat amongst these agencies and State apparatus,” Dhankhar wrote.
He said that to ensure cooperation with the BSF, it is “expedient that the law and order agencies of the State and the CAPF play their respective roles and perform their assigned duties in a coordinated and synergical manner to ensure overall safety and security”.
The Centre, earlier in the month of October, had empowered the BSF to conduct searches, arrest suspects and make seizures up to an area of 50 km inside Indian territory from the International Border (IB) along India-Pakistan and India-Bangladesh borders.
The BSF, which was only empowered to take action up to 15 kilometres in the states of Punjab, West Bengal, and Assam, has now been authorised to extend its jurisdiction up to 50 km without any hurdle or permission either from central or state governments.
However, its jurisdiction has been cut short by 20 km in the five northeastern states– Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland, and Meghalaya– where it had jurisdiction up to 80 km. Similarly in Gujarat, the BSF’s jurisdiction has been curtailed from 80 to 50 km. In Rajasthan, the BSF’s area of jurisdiction will remain the same at 50 km.