Pune (Maharashtra) [India], October 16 (ANI): On the issue of providing additional powers to Border Security Force, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar said that he will soon meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah on the matter, adding that his own experience as a defence minister shows that one should not speak directly about the country's defence and border issue.
"I have not studied in detail I am going to speak to the Home Minister on this issue. Because if something is related to the country's defence and border issue then a person like me who was a defence minister should not speak directly. Hence I will be meeting the Home Minister to know his thoughts about it, " he said.
Days after the Centre enhanced the powers of the Border Security Force, political parties have raised concerns about the decision taken by the Ministry of Home Affairs citing security concerns.
Addressing a press conference Pimpri-Chinchwad in Pune, Pawar briefly said, "I will be meeting Home Minister Amit Shah to know his thoughts about it."
On this matter, a political row has erupted wherein several opposition parties have slammed the Centre on this decision over the past few days.
Slamming the Centre for extending the jurisdiction of Border Security Force (BSF), Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa on Saturday alleged that an "unseen emergency like situation" is being created in Punjab.
Speaking to ANI, the deputy chief minister said, "Unseen emergency like situation is being created in Punjab, which will never be tolerated. Punjab is safe in the hands of the Punjab Police. The Centre should instead focus on drugs, weapons and drones coming from across the border. Peaceful Punjabis must not be harassed."
Randhawa, who is also the Home Minister of Punjab, reiterated the demands of the state government that Punjab police should be left to handle the law and order situation in the state. "BSF should be kept at the border only and the rest of the areas should be left for Punjab Police to maintain law and order."
Former Punjab Chief Minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Parkash Singh Badal on Friday urged all political parties in the state to "stop fighting among themselves" and "wage a united fight" against Center's move to "turn Punjab into a Union Territory through the back door by handing it over to the central security forces like the BSF."
Congress MP (Lok Sabha) Manish Tewari said on Thursday said that the Centre's recent order extending the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) in border states could have potentially negative consequences for Punjab and the State Government should approach the Supreme Court to get the order withdrawn.
However, former Border Security Force DG Prakash Singh called the Centre's decision to empower the BSF to conduct searches, arrest suspects and make seizures up to an area of 50 km inside Indian territory from the International Border (IB) along India-Pakistan and India-Bangladesh borders "necessary step" for the security of people. Speaking to ANI, Singh said, "The notification to increase BSF power to 50 km by MHA was a necessary step for the protection of people."
Earlier on Wednesday, MHA empowered the BSF to conduct searches, arrest suspects and make seizures up to an area of 50 km inside Indian territory from the International Border (IB) along India-Pakistan and India-Bangladesh borders. As per the fresh order, the BSF, which was only empowered to take action up to fifteen kilometres in the states of Punjab, West Bengal and Assam, has now been authorised to spread its jurisdiction up to 50 km without any hurdle or further permission either from central or state governments.
However, its jurisdiction has been cut short by 20 km in the five northeastern states-- Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya-- where it had jurisdiction up to 80 km. Similarly in Gujarat, the BSF's jurisdiction has been curtailed from 80 to 50 km. In Rajasthan, the BSF's area of jurisdiction will remain the same at 50 km. (ANI)