Manish Tewari targets Punjab govt for not challenging increased BSF jurisdictions


Congress MP from Anandpur Sahib Manish Tewari on Monday targeted Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi for not challenging the issue of increased BSF jurisdiction in the Supreme Court and wondered whether the opposition was “tokenism”.

Tewari said in a tweet, “It has been close to a month now Central Govt by notification has extended BSF operational remit in Punjab to 50 Kilometres.Why till now notification has not been challenged by Punjab Govt India under Article 131 in Supreme Court of India Is opposition to it mere tokenism?”

Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Channi had said that his government will not accept the Centre’s decision to expand the BSF’s jurisdiction from existing 15 km from the border to 50 km, as this is “against the spirit of federalism”. He had said that ‘since law and order is a state subject, the Centre cannot impose its decision on Punjab without taking them into confidence’.

The state police force is fully competent to handle the law and order situation, he said, citing how it contained the decade-long militancy in the state, restoring the long-lasting peace, harmony and brotherhood.

The Punjab Cabinet held an all party meeting last month and summoned the special session of the Assembly on November 8 to oppose the Centre’s notification extending the jurisdiction of the BSF from 15 km to 50 km from the International Border, besides repealing the three “black” farm laws.

Tewari had earlier said that, “Mischievous part of Section 139 of BSF Act or of any cognizable offence punishable under any other Central Act; ..’It allows GOI to institutionalise an alternative policing paradigm. Was Punjab Govt consulted?”

Section 139 of the Border Security Force Act, 1968, empowers the Centre to notify the area and extent of the border force’s operational mandate from time to time.

The addition of an extra 35-km stretch to the BSF’s mandate could lead to a political storm in Punjab and Bengal which are ruled by non-BJP parties. The Congress leaders from Punjab were the first to oppose the move.