Mon, 06 Dec 2021

Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], October 25 (ANI): Slamming the Central government over the recent extension of the jurisdiction of Border Security Force (BSF), Punjab Congress President Navjot Singh Sidhu on Monday alleged that the Centre is weakening the country's federal structure by creating 'a state within a state'.

Addressing an all-party meeting in Punjab today, Sidhu said, "Centre is creating states within states and they are fulfilling their own interests. This is a political move by the BJP to scuttle elections, to camouflage their weak political position in Punjab. BJP is using BSF to interfere in the autonomy of states ruled by opposition parties."Sidhu further claimed that this decision, being taken a few months ahead of assembly elections in Punjab, is aimed at creating unrest to hamper the electoral process in the state.

"Why is this happening just two months before elections, why not in the last 4.5 years? This is to scuttle the electoral process which is the centrifugal force of any democracy. You (BJP) want control on flimsy grounds, where you don't have any political support, but public hate," he added.

Sidhu further said that the Centre did not give any official explanation for issuing this new order and said that the BSF daily violates the constitutional provision of the country in the name of security in West Bengal, and there is a possibility that the instances of torture, false cases, arbitrary detention and illegal arrests would happen in Punjab too.

"They use institutions as a political tool. West Bengal government, in the last five years, had lodged a total of 240 cases accusing the BSF of extra-judicial torture, 60 cases of extrajudicial execution and eight cases of forced disappearance. Of these, in 33 cases, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has recommended compensation to the victims or to their next of kin," he stated.

The Congress leader further warned the Centre and said that if it does not roll back its fresh notification, then the party will hold an agitation. "We will hold an agitation along with all the parties. The whole world will see. This fight cannot be fought alone, we all will fight together," he added.

Meanwhile, an all-party meeting was convened by Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Monday to discuss the Centre's recent enhanced jurisdiction of the BSF.

Earlier on October 13, the Ministry of Home Affairs empowered the BSF to conduct searches, arrest suspects and make seizures upto an area of 50 km inside Indian territory from the International Border (IB) along India-Pakistan and India-Bangladesh borders.

As per the fresh order, 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 have jurisdiction up to 50 km without any hurdle or further permission either from central or state governments. (ANI)

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