Jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) was increased due to the emerging threat of drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) among other reasons, the Union home ministry informed Parliament on Tuesday.
In a written reply, Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai said this in response to a question asked by Pilibhit MP Varun Gandhi of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The Ministry of Home Affairs, in its written response, said, “The extension in territorial jurisdiction of BSF in some states is aimed at empowering BSF to discharge its border guarding duties more effectively in the wake of use of technology like Dynamic Remotely Operated Navigation Equipment (Drones), Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAVs), etc generally having long range, by anti-national forces for surveillance as well as for smuggling of arms, narcotics and fake Indian currency notes (FICN).”
“It [the increase in territorial jurisdiction] would also help in curbing the menace of cattle smuggling as smugglers take refuge in the interior areas outside the jurisdiction of BSF,” the government told Parliament.
Varun Gandhi, disgruntled BJP leader from Uttar Pradesh, had sought a response from MHA seeking the rationale for extending the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) from 15 km to 50 km inside the international borders in Punjab, West Bengal and Assam by a Government Notification dated 11 October, 2021.
States ruled by the non-BJP parties such as West Bengal and Punjab have opposed the move calling it an infringement of federal rights of the states.
Recently, BSF DGP Pankaj Singh described “demographic changes in border states” especially West Bengal and Assam as one of the key reasons for extension of Jurisdiction for the BSF.
Pankaj Singh last week said, “One of the reasons to extend the jurisdiction of BSF up to 50 km in border-states was the demographic change in Assam and West Bengal. We have the district-wise composition of how the demography has changed in these areas.”
The same, however, was mentioned by the MHA in its response submitted to Parliament