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Mamata Banerjee ups ante against Centre, calls to limit BSF within 50 kms from border

Kolkata (West Bengal) : In a move which may provoke the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Central government, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday asked the Cooch Behar Police not to allow the Border Security Force (BSF) to allow beyond 50 kms from the international border. The West Bengal Chief Minister also alleged that the "BSF is entering the villages and beating people while also throwing them on the other side of the international border". "Don't allow BSF to enter 50 kms of the area beyond the international border in the state because they are entering the village, killing people and throwing them on the other side. Ask the BSF to take state police in confidence while working on any operation," the Chief Minister said in a virtual meeting with the senior officials of the state police. The Central government had last year amended the BSF Act to authorise the border guarding force to undertake search, seizure and arrest within a 50 km stretch, up from the previous limit of 15 kms, from the international border in Punjab, West Bengal and Assam. The amendment had triggered a political slugfest over the role of the BSF and the state police in maintaining the law and order situation in the respective states. Punjab and West Bengal governments even passed resolutions in November last year against the Centre's decision to extend the BSF jurisdiction from 15 kms to 50 kms of the international borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh. They asked the Central government to withdraw the order passed on October 11, 2021. Central and West Bengal governments have been at loggerheads for the past many years over various issues, especially the law and order situations in the state. Banerjee, in a meeting with State Police, even claimed that the law and order situation is good in the state but some sections of the media are deliberately spreading misinformation and said that cases are lodged in West Bengal but not in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. "A case of death by suicide was portrayed as a rape case by the opposition parties. The BJP and CPI(M) are both trying to defame West Bengal. We will not let Bengal become Hathras or Unnao," she said. However, she also questioned the West Bengal Police about the recent incidents that took place in the state.

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