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BSF to continue guarding borders as mandated by govt

 
New Delhi, Nov 16 (IANS) Following a resolution passed by the West Bengal Assembly against the extension of the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) in the state, sources in the force said that it is a border guarding force and will continue to guard the borders as mandated by the government.

The West Bengal Assembly on Tuesday passed a resolution against the Centre's move to extend BSF's jurisdiction to up to 50 km from the international border in the state. The Punjab Assembly had also passed a similar resolution on November 11.

The sources in the BSF also said that it has nothing to do with Centre-state politics, and it is bound to follow the government's order.

Describing the opposition by West Bengal and Punjab as a sheer "political" move, former BSF DG Prakash Singh recently said that under the new notification, the BSF has been mandated to search and arrest a person or persons only under the Passport Act 1967, Passport (Entry into India) Act 1920 and specified sections of the Criminal Procedure code, which includes any person illegally entering into the Indian territory.

"It is merely an enabling provision aimed at strengthening and complementing the efforts of the state police. In any case, the BSF will have to hand over the accused with the seized consignments to the local police for further investigation. The power to register FIR and investigate the case will remain with the state police," Singh said earlier, adding that the Punjab government's claim that half of the state would fall under the jurisdiction of BSF is misleading.

Noting that the controversy created over the October order of the Union Home Ministry as unwarranted, Singh also said that the latest notification is only meant to reinforce the capabilities of the state police in securing the states under Section 139 of the BSF Act that allows the border guarding force to function with certain powers and duties in specified areas, and does not curtail the powers of the state police in any manner.

Reacting to the present resolution passed by the West Bengal Assembly to roll back this order, Constitutional expert Subhas Kashyap said that the Centre has the power to issue such an order under Article 355 of the Constitution.

"The unanimous decision passed by the Bengal Assembly can be challenged by the Union government in the court, as it has the overriding power in case of internal disturbance under Article 355," Kashyap said, adding that the controversy is just a political move.

The Centre had issued a notification on October 11, extending the jurisdiction of BSF from 15 km from the international border to 50 km in Assam, West Bengal and Punjab.

--IANS
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