Border Security Force (BSF) will now have the power to arrest, search, and seizure to the extent of 50 km inside Assam, West Bengal.

Union Home ministry claims that recent drone droppings of weapons from across the border have prompted this expansion in the jurisdiction of the BSF in the three states that share borders with Bangladesh and Pakistan.

As was the case earlier, no such limit has been prescribed for the five northeastern states of Meghalaya, Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura and Manipur or the Union territories of J&K and Ladakh.

Section 139 of the Border Security Force Act, 1968, empowers the Centre to notify the area and extent of the border force’s operational mandate, from time to time.

As per the latest notification issued by the home ministry on Monday, the central government has revised the ‘Schedule’ specifying the border stretch where BSF would have powers of search, seizure and arrest under Acts like Passport Act, NDPS Act, Customs Act as well as Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) to Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, and Meghalaya; UTs of J&K and Ladakh; and 50km-belt in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Bengal and Assam.

Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi has protested against the Centre’s decision.

“I strongly condemn the government’s unilateral decision to give additional powers to BSF within 50 km belt running along the international borders, which is a direct attack on the federalism. I urge the Union Home Minister Amit Shah to immediately roll back this irrational decision,” CM Channi tweeted.

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