Parkash Badal urges Punjab parties to fight together against Centre"s BSF jurisdiction order

  • | Friday | 15th October, 2021

Chandigarh, Oct 15 (PTI) Shiromani Akali Dal patriarch Parkash Singh Badal on Friday urged all political parties in the state to wage a united fight against the Centre"s move to "turn Punjab into a union territory through the back door" through its order extending the BSF"s jurisdiction.This move will further weaken the "already endangered" federal structure of the country and will reduce the state government"s status to that of a municipality, he claimed, adding that it will be a severe blow to the pride and dignity of Punjabis.The Union government has amended the BSF Act to authorise the force to undertake search, seizure and arrest within a 50-km stretch, instead of the existing 15 km, from the international borders in Punjab, West Bengal and Assam.The Union home ministry issued a notification in this context on October 11, amending a July 2014 enabling provision for BSF personnel and officers while they operate in the border areas.Punjab shares border with Pakistan.In a statement, Badal said, "If we (political parties) don"t stop our mutual fights for petty stakes, the Centre will merrily take advantage of our weaknesses. Tomorrow, we will all repent having no powers left to solve the problems of the people. There will be nothing left then." He called upon all political parties in the state to "wage a united fight" against the Centre"s move to "turn Punjab into a union territory through the back door" through its order extending the BSF"s jurisdiction.Badal said that it was very unfortunate that the Centre has been usurping the rights of states even on subjects that fall under the States List of the Constitution.First, the Centre brought three "black laws" on agriculture, which is a state subject. Now, with this move on BSF jurisdiction, it has encroached on another state subject of law and order, he added.Badal appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to get both these "encroachments" rescinded."For nearly 15 years, the Centre had kept Punjab under President"s rule and even under Army boots with disastrous consequences. I hope the present rulers in Delhi will learn from history and not repeat the tragic mistakes of the past," he said.Badal described the Centre"s move "to place almost half of Punjab under the BSF" as "dangerous"."By giving sweeping powers to the BSF, the Centre has rendered the Punjab Police totally irrelevant."I am afraid we are back to the era of midnight knocks and searches of homes by security forces without valid orders or prior notice and without any platform to seek relief as people can no longer turn to local leaders or officers for the redress of their grievances," he said.Badal said that the Centre has assumed arbitrary powers even to enter and violate the sanctity of the most sacred shrines, including Harmandar Sahib, Durgiana temple and Ram Tirath temple."We all know what the outcome of such insensitivity can be. People of Punjab must unite for safeguarding their own pride and freedom guaranteed under the Constitution," he said.According to officials, the Centre"s notification will allow the BSF to execute the powers of search, seizure and arrest for the purpose of prevention of any offence punishable under the Passport Act, the Registration of Foreigners Act, the Central Excises and Salt Act, the Foreigners Act, the Foreign Exchange Management Act, the Customs Act or of any cognisable offence punishable under any other Central Act.Besides SAD, the Centre"s decision has been condemned by Punjab"s ruling Congress and main opposition Aam Aadmi Party. PTI VSD SUN DIV DIV DIV

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