BSF Inspector General (Punjab Border) Sonali Mishra


The Border Security Force has been entrusted with a new set of powers near border areas. (Figurative)

Chandigarh:

Amid a dispute over the extension of the Border Security Force’s territorial jurisdiction in Punjab, a senior border guard force official said Saturday that the powers of the state police remain intact and that the BSF is only there to complement them.

BSF (Punjab Border) Inspector General Sonali Mishra made this comment two days after the Punjab assembly adopted a resolution against the Center’s notification extending BSF jurisdiction.

In a media interaction in Jalandhar, IPS official Mishra said that in the emerging threat to national security, the challenges are becoming complex and complicated and drones have become one of the biggest challenges in the last two o three years.

The Punjab border of the BSF is mandated to protect the 553 km border.

Punjab Vidhan Sabha recently called the Center’s move to extend the jurisdiction of the BSF an “insult” to the state police.

The resolution that was passed in the assembly in the absence of two BJP legislators said that the decision to extend the jurisdiction of the BSF from 15 km to 50 km by the Union government was an “expression of distrust” towards the state police and the people of Punjab. .

However, former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said that the extension of the BSF’s operational jurisdiction did not violate Punjab’s federal authority or question the competence of the state police to maintain public order.

The Center had last month amended the BSF Act to authorize the border guard force to conduct searches, seizures and arrests within 50 km of the international border in Punjab, West Bengal and Assam.

Addressing the media, Officer Mishra said: “The BSF is mandated to protect the 553 km border and our main role is to maintain the sanctity of the border, create a sense of security among the border population and prevent traffic. border crimes “.

She said BSF troops have been conducting joint operations with the state police and various law enforcement agencies such as the Office of Narcotics Control.

Referring to the Center’s notification of the jurisdiction of the BSF, Officer Mishra said that the jurisdiction has been extended from 15 to 50 km.

The BSF has worked in this area since 1965, he said, adding: “We have always maintained cooperation and coordination with the state police.”

“The BSF is not a police organization as a result of which the BSF does not have the power to register any FIRs or to conduct any investigation.

“We have no mandate to work under the Law of Evidence and the IPC. So when we turn over any seized material to any of the law enforcement agencies, they go ahead with the FIR search, conduct the investigation, record the culprits, and bring it to the logical conclusion by submitting a fact sheet. charges in court “.

“So the power of the (Punjab) police remains intact and we are only complementing, assisting and strengthening them,” said Officer Mishra, an IPS officer from the 1993 Madhya Pradesh cadre group.

Citing drones as one of the biggest challenges, Officer Mishra said anti-national elements were now using better drones with less noise and capable of flying at a higher level for smuggling and other illegal purposes.

There have been cases where drones dropped heroin six kilometers from the international border, he said.

He noted that in early 2019, drones were found to approach within 2 km of the border and used to fly lower.

“But over time, they (anti-national elements) are using better drones and better software. According to the discussion with the state police, there have been cases where the droppings were made even 6 km within the IB state, ”he said.

Responding to a question, he said that BSF had sighted 12 drones in 2019, 32 in 2020 and 45 in 2021.

He said that the government has already approved funding for counter drone technology and added: “We have one of the agencies in the Indian government as the nodal agency to work on various technologies in drones.”

“There is a lot of work going on and a lot of testing is going on and we should have some technology soon,” he said.

He said that so far this year, the BSF has recovered 387 kg of heroin and 55 weapons, in addition to making 77 arrests and eliminating six smugglers from Pakistan.

Officer Mishra took over as the new Punjab Border Inspector General (IG) of the Border Security Force based in Jalandhar district in July this year.



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