Congress leader Randeep Surjewala today slammed the Centre over its “unilateral” decision to increase Border Security Force (BSF) jurisdiction in Punjab, and claimed it was meant to deflect attention from the movement of heroin through the Adani-run Mundra Port in Gujarat this year.
Both states vote for a new government next year, with the Congress (in power in Punjab) and the BJP (in power in Gujarat) bidding for re-election in their states and a strong showing in the other.
Inspired by Home Minister Amit Shah’s ‘chronology samjhiye‘ remark, Mr Surjewala linked a 25,000 kg shipment that reportedly passed through Mundra Port in June, and a 3,000 kg (valued at Rs 20,000 crore) shipment captured at the same port in September, to the order on BSF jurisdiction.
“The Chronology –
25,000 kg of heroin came through Adani Port, Gujarat on 9/6/2021
3,000 kg of heroin caught at Adani Port, Gujarat on 13/9/2021.
BSF jurisdiction unilaterally increased from 15 km to 50 km in Punjab.
Federalism Dead, Conspiracy Clear,” he tweeted.
• 25,000 Kgs of Heroin Drugs came through Adani Port, Gujarat on 9/6/2021.
• 3,000 Kgs of Heroin Drugs caught at Adani Port, Gujarat on 13/9/2021.
• BSF jurisdiction unilaterally increased from 15 Kms to 50 Kms in Punjab.
Federalism Dead, Conspiracy Clear.
— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) October 14, 2021
The jibe comes after a Home Ministry order last night that said BSF jurisdiction in three states – Punjab, Bengal, and Assam – will now include all areas within 50 km of the international border.
Previously in Punjab BSF had jurisdiction up to 15 km from the border with Pakistan.
The new order means the BSF can carry out searches and make arrests within a wider area.
This sets up a potentially explosive situation in Punjab, with the BSF and police likely to clash over jurisdiction in a state where the BJP and Congress will go head-to-head in next year’s election.
Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Channi – under attack from his own party colleagues as the divide within the ruling party grows – has called this “a direct attack on federalism”.
Mr Surjewala’s tweet is also an attempt to remind voters in Gujarat of drug movement in their state, and underline the Congress’ point that even with BJP leaders in the country’s two most powerful posts – Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah – no action has been taken.
In September, authorities recovered 3,000 kg of heroin from Mundra Port; the consignment came via Iran from Afghanistan, one of the world’s largest illegal producers of opium.
Eight people, including a foreign national, have been arrested so far, and raids have been carried out at several places in the national capital region. The case has also been handed over to the NIA.
Last month Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera questioned the centre over its “failure” to stop drugs from entering the country, and also alleged that volume of drugs had increased exponentially.
“Can (the BJP) tell us why Gujarat has become such a hotbed for drug smuggling… Why are we not busting this racket? How is it the syndicate still carrying on? This is a serious matter…” he said.