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TMC to launch stir over Centre’s BSF move

“BJP should not play with fire, extending the BSF jurisdiction from 15 km to a depth of 50 km, giving it powers of arrest, search and seize is nothing but to gain political mileage. We will soon take up our political programmes, building public opinion against such an undemocratic move”

Statesman News Service | Siliguri |

The Trinamul Congress is set to launch a movement and build public opinion after the Centre extended the Border Security Force’s (BSF) operational area from the international borders and inside the Indian Territory.

The Centre has recently allowed the border guarding force to undertake search, seizure and arrest within a larger 50 km stretch, instead of the existing 15 km, from the international borders. Darjeeling district TMC leaders alleged that facing defeat in the Assembly elections, the BJP was trying to gain political mileage with this decision.

“BJP should not play with fire, extending the BSF jurisdiction from 15 km to a depth of 50 km, giving it powers of arrest, search and seize is nothing but to gain political mileage. We will soon take up our political programmes, building public opinion against such an undemocratic move. We will launch movements to mount pressure on the Centre to roll back the decision immediately,” said district party chairman Alok Chakravarty.

The BSF North Bengal Frontier shares around 936 km of the border with Bangladesh. Around 110 km of the border does not have a fence and has riverine tracts. Except for Kalimpong and Alipurduar, six other districts in north Bengal too share the border with the neighbouring country.

The Centre has amended the BSF Act and given the force such powers in Punjab, West Bengal and Assam. The fresh order has led to a fresh round of controversy involving the Centre and the states.

“Accordingly, many town areas, including Siliguri, will come under the operational limit of the BSF,” sources said. TMC spokesperson Bedabrata Dutta slammed the decision as a direct attack on federalism.

“With this, the BJP has cleared its politically motivated stand. We completely oppose the decision. Our party has stated that the unilateral decision is an infringement of the rights of the state and a direct attack on the federal structure of the country. The Centre should withdraw the decision,” Mr Dutta said.

According to him, the ministry of home affairs had reduced the BSF’s area of operation in BJP-ruled Gujarat from 80 km from the border to 50 km.