A day after the West Bengal state legislative assembly passed a resolution demanding the withdrawal of the notification of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs extending the territorial jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) from 15 km to 50 km along the international border, the BSF came out with a clarification it does not have powers to register an FIR or to carry out investigations.
Though West Bengal alleged that the extension of the territorial jurisdiction of BSF is an effort to encroach on the powers and authorities of the state and an effort to disturb the federal structure of the country, BSF ADG, YB Khurania, on Wednesday said: “Apart from West Bengal and Assam, the other states where BSF is deployed in Eastern Theatre i.e., Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura, the jurisdiction of BSF covers the whole state”.
“The above change in territorial jurisdiction vide Notification dated 11.10.2021 pertains only to powers conferred upon BSF under Criminal Procedure Code 1973, Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 and Passport Act 1967. BSF has no policing powers, as it does not have powers to register an FIR or to carry out investigations. Any seizure or apprehension made has to be handed over to state police or any other law enforcement agency. The state police jurisdiction continues to be till International Boundary,” Khurania said at a press conference.
“Thus, the enhanced jurisdiction will help the BSF to strengthen the hands of the police. This is an enabling provision which is aimed at strengthening and complementing the efforts of the state police.
“BSF has been acting in close coordination with police to conduct Joint Operations including Joint depth area patrolling, deploying joint Nakas etc., and establishing of Anti Human Trafficking Units at different places along the India-Bangladesh border. Synergy with all state agencies is being maintained by BSF for maintaining security at IB,” he said.
Reacting to the remark made by Trinamool Congress’ Dinhata MLA Udayan Guha that BSF in the name of searching outrage the modesty of women, Khurania said: “We have mahila praharis (women guards) in the Eastern command who are used for frisking women. We have CCTVs. Unfortunately, such things are being said. BSF is a disciplined force. Any act of misdemeanour is not taken lightly, if proven stringent action is taken. Whenever such an incident takes place we order inquiries, and we also inform the police. We have a zero-tolerance policy on such matters.”