'BSF jurisdiction order will lead to torture in Punjab'

Sidhu slams Centre on BSF jurisdiction order, says it'll lead to 'torture, illegal arrests' in Punjab

He alleged that the BSF "daily violated” the constitutional provision of the country in the name of security in West Bengal

Punjab Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu on Monday attacked the Centre over the issue of jurisdiction of the BSF, accusing it of “weakening the federal structure by creating a state within a state”.

He also slammed the government for “disregarding the democratic rights of the people of Punjab” with extending the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) and expressed fear of “torture, false cases, arbitrary detention and illegal arrests” in the state.

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.

Also Read | Centre crossing the borders

In a series of tweets on Monday, Sidhu slammed the Centre as he participated in an all-party meeting chaired by Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, convened to deliberate on the issue of jurisdiction of the BSF.

Except for the BJP, representatives of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Aam Aadmi Party, Lok Insaaf Party and other parties attended the meeting.

“Centre is weakening country's federal structure, by creating a State within a State’ BSF means Border Security Force, What is the definition of the border? 50 kms?? Public order, which connotes public peace & safety is primarily the responsibility of State Govt (Entry 1, State list),” tweeted Sidhu.

Also Read | Why BSF jurisdiction extension has triggered a political row 

He alleged that the BSF "daily violated” the constitutional provision of the country in the name of security in West Bengal and “there is a possibility that instances of torture, false cases, arbitrary detention and illegal arrests would happen in Punjab too”.

“There are a number of cases in West Bengal where BSF did not inform local police after firing incidents. The Bengal government in the last five years had lodged a total of 240 cases accusing BSF of extra-judicial torture, 60 cases of extrajudicial execution and eight cases of forced disappearance.

“Of these, in 33 cases, the NHRC recommended compensation to the victims or to their next of kin. If UP Police can illegally detain @priyankagandhi Ji for more than 60 hours without any valid reason, Who takes guarantee of a common person if BSF detains him/her,” the Congress leader said in a series of tweets.

Also Read | Punjab Cabinet opposes Centre's decision to extend BSF jurisdiction 

He further said, “without obtaining the consent of the state government, the notification amounts to encroachment on constitutional rights of the states, disregarding the democratic powers of the people of Punjab vested in the state legislature and state executive”.

The Punjab CM had earlier opposed the Centre's move and had said that his government would not allow enhancement of BSF's jurisdiction, saying it was against the spirit of federalism.

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