BJP leader Sayantan Basu on Monday made a controversial remark and instructed party workers to make a list of TMC “goons” and submit it to a local Border Security Force (BSF) office. This comes after the Trinamool Congress opposed the Ministry of Home Affairs’ (MHA) decision for extending the jurisdiction of the BSF in some border states, including West Bengal.
Basu made this comment during a meeting in Itahar, a place which falls within 50 km of border area of North Dinajpur. “To teach ‘gundas’ (goons) of TMC, the BSF jurisdiction have been increased. TMC goons and police have become one. Make a list of TMC goons and submit it in a local BSF office then we will see after that. In Itahar of North Dinajpur, this is bordering area where according to new rule BSF will also look after law and order,” he said.
In a gazette notification, the MHA mentioned the amendment made in the earlier notification of 2014 on the jurisdiction of the BSF to exercise its powers in states where it guards the international border. As per the amendment, the BSF can operate up to an area of 50 km inside the Indian side from the International Border (IB) along the India-Pakistan and India-Bangladesh borders to check terror activities and inter-border crimes.
The new circular also empowered the BSF to conduct raids to check border-related crimes in coordination with the local administration.
A BJP party insider claimed that through border area, the “TMC does smuggling and anti-social activities are most”.
However, it is still not clear whether the BJP also endorses what Basu has said.
Speaking to News18, senior TMC leader Saugata Roy said, “First of all, Sayantan Basu is not even MLA. There is no point giving him importance but the way he said and whatever he said is it possible? They will give TMC leaders’ names to the BSF and the BSF will come and arrest? Let them do it once we will also see.”
West Bengal shares international boundaries with Bangladesh. The state has 2, 217 km-long border with Bangladesh.
According to some TMC insiders, the BJP wants to put pressure on local leaders through BSF and in that way they are destroying sanctity of federal structure.