Letters to the Editor: Mamata asks Modi to withdraw extended BSF jurisdiction
Sir — The West Bengal chief minister, Mamata Banerjee, has rightly asked the prime minister, Narendra Modi, to withdraw the home ministry’s decision to increase the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force from 15 kilometres to 50 km in the state (“Didi fires BSF land-grab gun”, Oct 25). The Modi government has developed a penchant for flexing its muscles with regard to states’ autonomy in the name of integration. Law and order is a state subject. As such, the Centre should refrain from trying to infringe on Bengal’s territory.
Sir — The Punjab cabinet has taken a serious view of the Centre’s move to extend the BSF jurisdiction in the state. The chief minister, Charanjit Singh Channi, has stated that the police force is capable of dealing with any law-and-order situation in the state. This step goes against the spirit of federalism. With this, a war seems to have broken out between the Centre and the state.
Sir — The Centre has taken a bold step forward in extending the jurisdiction of the BSF. This will embolden the spirit of our front-line warriors in dealing with cross-border terrorism, illegal drugs smuggling, cattle trade and unchecked migration across porous borders.
The move created a stir in Punjab and Bengal since the Centre seldom deems it necessary to consult state governments — especially in Opposition-ruled states — before taking any big decision. But the states, too, should have done more to handle these complex issues that threaten national security. The Centre should now resolve the differences with stakeholders in Punjab and Bengal to create a healthy precedent in mainstream politics.
Janga Bahadur Sunuwar,
Sir — The Centre’s decision on the BSF was unilateral and hasty. If it has inputs on any specific, fresh dangers from across the borders, the details must be shared with the border states.
This move may backfire politically. The economy in the border districts of Punjab is already suffering. Protesting farmers, too, are unlikely to welcome this move. This will encourage migration from rural areas to cities, creating more chaos.
The BSF’s vigil should have been tightened within the existing framework instead. There also seems to be a lack of coordination between the BSF and the state police. The people of Punjab have genuine reason to worry.
Brij B. Goyal,
Sir — It was heartbreaking to watch the Indian men’s cricket team lose to Pakistan at the T20 World Cup match (“Pak blow holes in India armour”, Oct 25). This is a refreshing change for Pakistan — the team had a good combination of both batsmen and bowlers. The commendable performance of the pacer, Shaheen Afridi, restricted India to 151 runs. The Indian team must investigate the reasons for this embarrassing performance and use it to revitalize itself.
Sir — As averred by Virat Kohli, a single loss is not the end of the road. However, as captain, he must answer some questions. Why did he play Bhuvneshwar Kumar in spite of his poor performance at the just-concluded Indian Premier League? Moreover, why was Ravichandran Ashwin, dubbed the world’s best spinner, benched and a rookie spinner brought out against a team who are better players of spin? One also wonders why the captain insisted on including Hardik Pandya, who is not fit enough.
Pakistan played better cricket on the day. But the way our bowlers failed to take even a single wicket is worrying. Is it possible that the IPL has taken a toll on our front-line bowlers?
Too soon to switch
Sir — Schools in West Bengal have been closed for nearly one-and-a-half years. Widespread campaigns — both online and offline — in favour of classroom teaching have finally led the government to declare the reopening of schools mid-November. The supporters of offline classes have been justifiably worried about the academic progress of students and their fair evaluation as well as the plight of children without the privilege of technology.
However, the tendency of not adhering to Covid norms — wearing of masks and social distancing — has increased the spread of infection. Urgent steps must be taken to contain it. Until then, it is not safe for children — who are yet to be vaccinated — to attend offline classes. After all, classroom education cannot come at the cost of their health or lives.
Sir — Animal rescue videos — these show people saving helpless creatures from peril — are highly popular on social media these days. While the efforts of those who perform these rescue operations must be lauded — these videos can inspire others to do the same — one wonders how many of these are genuine and how many just ploys to get attention on social media. A report showed that 180 fake animal rescue videos were posted on YouTube between October 2018 to May 2021. In fact, there has been an upward trend in such online activity, pointing to a rise in animal cruelty in reality. But little is done to check this menace. It is time that strict action is taken against people who pose the real threat to animal safety.