Mamata Banerjee asks police in bordering areas to stop BSF beyond 15 km

Invoking the Nagaland killings, Mamata Banerjee just stopped short of asking police and civil administrators of bordering areas to confront BSF jawans if they enter beyond 15 km from international borders

The West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has scaled up her ante on Border Security Force (BSF) scope in the administrative meeting in the bordering districts of North and South Dinajpur.

Inflicting the recent killing of civilians in the Army’s elite 21 Special Para Commandos ambush, she stopped short of asking police officers and civil administrators to confront BSF if they enter more than 15 km from the Indo-Bangladesh borders.

The TMC MPs have submitted a memorandum seeking clarity from the government about its position on AFSPA.

It is not their jurisdiction: Banerjee

Mamata Banerjee explained how BSF jawans were allegedly threatening villagers. She also said that jawans are frequently interfering in areas under state police jurisdiction. On Tuesday, December 7, while speaking about it, she also talked about the ‘dubious role’ of the jawans in the Assembly polls.

“The BDOs and ICs should visit the areas along the borders regularly… In case you see that the BSF officials have come more than 15 kilometres from the international borders, tell them that it’s not their jurisdiction,” Banerjee added.

The Centre had on October notified that BSF could carry out search operations, seizures and arrests up to 50 km of the Indian territory from the international borders. Earlier, the BSF jurisdiction was restricted to 15km.

The decision garnered sharp protest from Nabanna, resulting in Mamata writing a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 24. She urged PM Modi to revoke the notification, citing it as an assault on the federal structure.

Development projects in Dinajpur district

Mamata Banerjee has also introduced a slew of development projects in the North and South Dinajpur districts. She had laid 15 foundation stones of new projects in North Dinajpur of an estimated worth of 240 crore rupees.

In South Dinajpur, she laid the foundation stone for 23 new developmental projects and 42 projects were inaugurated. A total of 250 crore rupees has been allotted for these projects, totalling 490 crore rupees.

Political observers have said that it is a political strategy of Banerjee to play the development card and cement her vote bank in the districts that have considerable minority population and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Surprisingly, Banerjee’s TMC has won 10 out of 15 Assembly seats in these districts. With two BJP MLAs defecting to TMC, the number now stands 12. In 2019, BJP had won the General Assembly seats of Balurghat and Raiganj and was ahead of TMC in most seats.

It is because of these two districts and Malda, TMC could wrestle BJP in the state polls and win the same number of seats that it won in 2016. Mamata is currently focusing on generating employment,  one of her primary poll promises as she eyes on upcoming Panchayat and civic elections.

“The local trade bodies should come forward and open textile and other units here. We will extend all possible assistance to them,” she said.

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