Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi responded on Monday to criticism from Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Sukhbir Singh Badal over the Centre’s decision to extend the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force to border states and warned the SAD chief not to politicize the issue.
In a series of tweets, Channi condemned the Centre’s “authoritarian decision” and called it “anti-democratic and anti-federal”. He also said that the people and the political parties of the state should be united and work together on the issue and that an extraordinary session of the state assembly would be called, if necessary.
âI strongly oppose and condemn the authoritarian decision of the GoI to illogically extend the jurisdiction of @BSF_India to 50 km inside the territory of Punjab. The people of Punjab are very offended by this unilateral action. This is an anti-democratic and anti-federal decision by Modi Govt, âChanni tweeted.
The CM’s reaction came after Badal criticized him on the matter and held him accountable for the Centre’s decision. Badal had referred to the meeting earlier between Channi and Union Home Secretary Amit Shah and alleged that the CM gave the green light to the decision during the meeting.
In addition, the CM also assured that an extraordinary session of the National Assembly would be convened if this became necessary. âAll Punjabis must be united in this struggle to maintain the constitutional dignity and federal autonomy of the Punjab. If necessary, we will convene a special Vidhan Sabha session to address this issue, âChanni tweeted. On Sunday, Badal called for a multi-stakeholder meeting “at the earliest” to discuss the issue.
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Channi also urged all political parties in the state to work together on the issue and in a stern warning to the head of the SAD, the CM also asked him to “not abuse this sensitive issue for political ambitions”.
Earlier on October 5, Channi met with Shah and urged him to seal the international border, citing concerns about the illegal trafficking of drugs and weapons from across the border. It was this meeting that Badal pointed out and criticized the CM on the Centre’s decision. The SAD leader also criticized the Center for the move, which he described as an “outright attack on the federal structure” and said it should be treated above partisan lines.
The Union government has granted the BSF broader jurisdiction within border states to search, seize and arrest within a larger 50 km stretch of the international border. Previously, the limit was set at 15 km, several news agencies reported. Along with Punjab, West Bengal, another border state, also voiced its criticism of the move, while Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma praised it.