At an all-party meeting chaired by Punjab Chief Minister, Charanjit Singh Channi, on Monday, all political parties, barring the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), unanimously resolved to ask the BJP-led Central government to withdraw its notification to increase the jurisdiction of BSF from 15 kilometers (km) to 50 km.
Addressing a Press conference after the meeting, the CM said the Punjab Assembly would be convened in the next 10 to 15 days and a resolution against the Centre’s notification would be passed. He also said that a resolution against the three contentious farm laws would also be passed during the session.
Terming the Centre’s order as a “raid on our rights in the federal structure”, Channi said law and order is a state subject. The CM said the state government would approach the Supreme Court regarding the matter.
“Political parties will hold agitations against the extension of BSF jurisdiction in Punjab. We will also approach the Supreme Court seeking justice in this matter,” he added.
Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu also said that public order was the responsibility of the state government and accused the Centre of weakening the country’s federal structure. In a series of tweets, he also said that the Centre was creating a ‘state within a state’.
“Centre is weakening the country’s federal structure, by creating “a State within a State” BSF means Border Security Force, What is definition of border ? 50 Kms ?? Public order, which connotes public peace & safety is primarily the responsibility of State Govt (Entry 1, State list),” he tweeted.
Centre is weakening country’s federal structure, by creating “a State within a State” BSF means Border Security Force, What is definition of border ? 50 Kms ?? Public order, which connotes public peace & safety is primarily the responsibility of State Govt (Entry 1, State list).
— Navjot Singh Sidhu (@sherryontopp) October 25, 2021
He further alleged that in West Bengal, another border state, the BSF “violated” the constitutional provision of the country in the “name of security and there is a possibility that instances of torture, false cases, arbitrary detention and illegal arrests would happen in Punjab too.”
Earlier on Monday, leaders from various political parties such as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) attended the meeting in Punjab convened by Channi. However, the state unit of the BJP boycotted the meeting saying that there was no conflict between the BSF and the state police.
While the main opposition party, Aam Aadmi Party, was represented by Bhagwant Mann and Aman Arora, Dr Daljit Singh Cheema and Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra were Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) representatives. The Union government had recently amended the BSF Act to authorise the force to undertake search, seizure and arrest within a 50 km stretch, up from the existing 15 km, from the international border in Punjab, West Bengal and Assam.