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Centre’s Stand on BSF’s Augmented Powers Row

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Amid a power tussle between the Centre and two opposition-ruled states over the increase in BSF’s jurisdictional powers, the central government has taken a stand that the matter is of national security and, hence, a debate over it is unnecessary.

Government sources told News18 that the debate over BSF gaining more power is unnecessary as it is an issue of national security. They said drones were being used by the “enemy state”, and that it was important for India to empower BSF.

In the past, BSF has registered its protest against Pakistan regarding drone activities. The border guarding organisation lodged its first official protest after the June 27 drone attack on the Jammu Airforce station.

Sources also said police stations were not being dismantled, but only BSF range was being increased. They said it was essential in such times.

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According to a new gazette notification dated October 11, BSF officials can now search, seize and arrest, at par with their police counterparts, 50 km into Punjab, Bengal and Assam. Earlier, the jurisdictional limit for BSF in these border states was 15 km. While Assam has welcomed the move saying it will strengthen national security. Punjab and West Bengal, which are both nonp-BJP states, have condemned the move calling it an “attack on federal structure”.

On Thursday, Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Badal was detained by Chandigarh police over protests against the order by ministry of home affairs (MHA). He was sitting on a dharna in front of Raj Bhavan. He claimed that Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi had “meekly surrendered” to the Centre’s move.

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