‘Definite democratic change’ behind Centre’s move to increase BSF jurisdiction: DG Pankaj Kumar Singh

The BSF DG brushed aside the apprehensions that the force was trying to act as parallel police, and added that the powers to investigate and file charge sheets remain with the state police.

The BSF DG's remark came almost two months after the Centre's move which has triggered protests by the Opposition-ruled governments in Punjab and West Bengal.

Border Security Force (BSF) DG Pankaj Kumar Singh has said that the probable reason for the Centre’s decision behind increasing the force’s jurisdiction to 50 km from international borders was a demographic imbalance in states like West Bengal and Assam. He said that a BSF survey has pointed to a definite democratic change.

The BSF DG’s remark came almost two months after the Centre’s move which has triggered protests by the Opposition-ruled governments in Punjab and West Bengal.

Addressing the annual press conference of the BSF, DG Singh said that the demographic balance has been upset to a great degree, whether it is in Assam or West Bengal, over a period of time.

“It has changed and there have been agitations in certain states and there have been many revolts because of these reasons…Even the voter pattern has changed in certain districts neighbouring borders. So, the government probably thought that, in its vision, the BSF jurisdiction was changed from 15 km to 50 km, and maybe now it can help and support and supplement the state police in catching the infiltrators,” said Singh.

The BSF DG brushed aside the apprehensions that the force was trying to act as parallel police, and added that the powers to investigate and file charge sheets remain with the state police. “The government standardised a 50-km region from the border in all border states manned by the BSF so that the forces could easily move from one theatre to the other,” Singh said.

In an interview to the AIR shared on the Twitter handle of the BSF, the DG said that apart from the Passports Act and Passport (Entry Into India Act), which deal with foreigners illegally coming inside the country’s borders, under the Arms Act, not just the paramilitary force but six-seven other forces had powers to take action anywhere within the country.

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