9 December 2023
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At a press conference on November 30 to mark the raising day of the Border Security Force, its director general stoked fresh controversy by suggesting that the reason for extending the jurisdiction of the paramilitary outfit from 15 km from the border to 50 km in October was the alleged changes in the demographic composition in the border areas of Assam and Bengal.

Pankaj Kumar Singh went on to state that this extension would help the BSF assist the police in detecting undocumented migrants in a larger area along the border.

His comments came as Punjab and West Bengal passed resolutions in their state assemblies against the notification on the grounds that thr move is an attack on the India’s federal structure and amounted to the state’s authority in maintaining law and order being curtailed.

In fact, the resolution in Punjab assembly said that the notification “… is an expression of distrust towards the state police and people of Punjab. This is their insult too.”

No hard evidence

Evidence that the demographic profile of the border areas is changing would seem to be only anecdotal. As a report in Scroll.in noted, after the National Registrar of Citizens process in Assam aimed at detecting undocumented migrants, only 1,032 “doubtful cases” have…

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Abdul Gh Lone