After letter to Modi, CM Mamata Banerjee says MHA’s move on BSF interferes with state list

A week after the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) increased the BSF’s jurisdiction from 15 km to 50 km inside the international border with Punjab, West Bengal and Assam, the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reiterated on Monday that the move interfered with the country’s federal structure.

In the MHA notification, the ministry said it is amending the BSF Act, which would authorize the central forces to conduct searches, seizures and arrests within the amended jurisdiction.

On her tour of North Bengal from Monday, Mamata said, “BSF had a jurisdiction of 15 km earlier. We have seen what they did in Balurghat and Cooch Behar. Now, they have changed it to 50 kms. This is an attempt to interfere in the federal structure of the country.” He wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday asking him to withdraw the notification of the Home Ministry.

Referring to a similar protest by the Congress-led Punjab government, Mamata said law and order is a state subject.

“Like Punjab, we are also opposing the decision…. Our borders are completely peaceful and law and order is a state subject in every state. We have a state law and we will go with it. Now, if BSF tries to establish its jurisdiction up to 50 kms, it will create a problem,” she said while addressing an administrative meeting in Siliguri on Monday. Sources in the state administration said Mamata will visit Kurseong on Tuesday and inspect the damage caused by landslides following heavy rains.

West Bengal shares its international border with Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan. While the BSF maintains vigil along the Bangladesh border, the SSB is deployed along the Bhutan border. SSB and BSF personnel are deployed on the Nepal border.