Oppn CMs oppose wider powers to paramilitary forces

Oppn CMs oppose wider powers to paramilitary forces

Even as non-UPA chief ministers on Monday opposed amendments to Border Security Force Act and moves to strengthen Central paramilitary forces, the Congress party maintained that matters relating to internal security should not be politicised.

“Issues related to internal security should not be used to make allegations and counter allegations, and score brownie points in politics. We are living in a troubled neighbourhood; if any state has specific problems, it can be discussed with the Union Home Minister,” said Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari while speaking on the matter.

Tewari asserted that amendments aimed at strengthening Central paramilitary forces should not be associated with politics and added: “In the past, such amendments have been made to Indo-Tibetan Border Police Act and Sashastra Seema Bal Act and there has been no complaint of any misuse of powers by them”.

Earlier in the day, alleging that amendments to the BSF Act will disturb the federal structure of the country, opposition chief ministers, who are in the national capital to attend chief ministers’ conference on internal security, demanded that discussions on the issue should be deferred and taken up along with the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) debate on May 5.

All CMs critical

Tripura Chief Minister Mani Sarkar said since the proposed amendments to the BSF Act, 1968 were against the laid down principles of a federal structure, discussion on it should be combined with the issue of counter-terror cell on May 5.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi criticised the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government and alleged that its "non-consultative" approach with state governments on key security issues was creating “state within state”.

He said amendments to legislation relating to Border Security Force and Railway Protection Force to give wide powers to the paramilitary forces to arrest and search anybody in any part of the country would take away powers from the state police and lead to meddling with subjects under the state list.

Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik, the first to question the NCTC move, and his counterparts Shivraj Singh Chouhan of Madhya Pradesh, Nitish Kumar of Bihar, J Jayalalitha of Tamil Nadu and Sadananda Gowda of Karnataka also criticised the central government for not consulting the states on crucial security decisions.

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