Opposing the Centre's decision to extend the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) over a wide area in three states, including Punjab, Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bittu on Thursday said the new law is an attack on the self-respect of Punjab.
Speaking to ANI, Bittu said, "This law is an attack on the self-respect of Punjab and many districts of Punjab will be affected by the law. The people of Punjab protect the country's border. But in Kashmir, ISI is killing us whereas the central government doubts us. Before bringing the law, the central government should have at least consulted the Punjab Chief Minister."
He emphasised that Punjab cannot be compared with Gujarat, Rajasthan, Assam and West Bengal because in these states the city is far away from the international border.
"Whereas in Punjab, many districts including Amritsar and Gurdaspur will be directly under the control of the Centre and BSF due to the law. The central government will now harass the people involved in the farmers' movement through this law. NRI Punjabis will be harassed," the Congress MP alleged.
"I appeal to all the parties and leaders of Punjab to come together against the law. All Congress MPs, Bhagwant Mann and Sukhbir Singh Badal will soon raise the issue before Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah," he added.
In a move aimed at maintaining "zero tolerance" against terrorism and cross border crimes, the Centre has 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 along the India-Pakistan and India-Bangladesh borders.
As per the fresh order, the BSF, which was only empowered to take action up to 15 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.
The Congress government in Punjab has opposed the increase in the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force in the international border areas of the country. Shiromani Akali Dal has also opposed it. Both the parties have demanded the Centre to withdraw this decision, calling it an attack on the federal structure. (ANI)