BSF DG’s remark on demographic change to justify a wider berth in border areas is flawed, disturbing

News: Recently, the centre decided to extend the jurisdiction of the BSF to 50 km from 15 km in border states of Assam, Punjab and West Bengal.

It was stated that the reason for extending the jurisdiction of BSF was to secure the three border states from the inflow of narcotics and weapon, infiltration by terrorists.

However, the recent remark by the director general of BSF denoting “demographic change” as one probable reason for such change is flawed and disturbing.

What was the remark made by the director general of BSF?

He stated that “the demographic balance has been upset in border states like West Bengal and Assam over a period of time” and this has led to increase in agitations and revolts in certain states.

The inference is, deploying BSF in these states will help to control agitations and revolts.

Why the BSF DG’s statement raises concerns?

First, it undermines the local police and the state government: The state police are trained and equipped to carry out the tasks such as search, seizure and arrest in case of revolts and undemocratic agitation.

In this regard, the central government’s decision to deploy (BSF), overrides objections by state governments, to engage the civilian population.

Second, it weaponises the idea of demographic change: The recent protests against the NRC and CAA were against the framing of Indian citizenship in communal terms. Now, the DGs remark in the same communal lines is disturbing.

Source: This post is based on the article “BSF DG’s remark on demographic change to justify a wider berth in border areas is flawed, disturbing” published in Indian Express on 2nd Dec 2021.

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