Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi on Monday said his government won’t accept the Centre’s decision to allow extension of the BSF’s jurisdiction from the existing 15 km from the border to 50 km. He added that such extension is against the spirit of federalism.
Addressing the media after a cabinet meeting, the CM said the Centre shouldn’t thrust such a decision on Punjab without even taking the state government into confidence as law and order is a state subject. Citing the role of the state police in containing the decade-long militancy in Punjab, he said his government was fully competent to handle the law and order situation across the state with its own police force.
Slamming SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal for flaring up religious sentiments using the sensitive issue of BSF deployment, Channi urged him to desist from making provocative statements referring to the entry of central forces into Sri Harmandir Sahib and other religious places. He also asked the SAD president not to push Punjab back to the days of militancy.
Making an oblique reference to Badal, Channi said anyone who rakes up such sensitive issues merely for pursuing vested interests was the biggest enemy of Punjab as well as the country.
According to Channi, apprehensions in the minds of people on the BSF issue have to be dispelled by chalking out a proper strategy. For this, a special meeting of the state cabinet would be convened soon. An all-party meeting could also be convened to discuss the issue if the need arises. In case even that fails to resolve the issue, then a special session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha would be organised.
On the issue of state party president Navjot Singh Sidhu’s letter to Sonia Gandhi about action on a ‘13-point agenda’, the CM said the state government is already working on the promises made to people and assured that every commitment would be fulfilled in letter and spirit. He also said it is the state party president’s duty to keep the high command informed about matters concerning the state, but this does not reflect any palpable differences between the party and the government.