Chennai: Describing the proposal to amend the Railway Protection Force (RPF) Act as "another attempt by the Centre to take away the rights of the powers of states", Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Tuesday asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to instruct Railway Ministry not to proceed with the move.
"I, request you to issue suitable instructions to the Ministry of Railways not to proceed with the proposed amendment to the Railway Protection Act, 1957," she said in a letter addressed to Singh.
The proposal was "yet another blatant attempt by the government to usurp the powers of the states," she said, adding, "public order and police are state subjects and proposing an amendment with regard to these is clearly an attempt to encroach upon the powers of the states.
"... It would be lethal to the federal structure of the nation," she said.
Noting that the proposed amendment was seeking to provide powers of a police officer to a RPF personnel, Jayalalithaa, in her letter said, "... It is violative of the provisions of the Indian Police Act - 1861."
The Government Railway Police (GRP) is "ill-conceived", she said, adding the GRP serves as a 'link between RPF and the District Police'.
"In the absence of this wing (GRP), coordination between RPF and the state police will suffer," she pointed out.
"The Government Railway Police deals with not only cases of theft but also death on railway tracks. Transferring these cases to the district police will place a heavy burden on the district police. Further, the States will lose the funding now given for the GRP...," Jayalalithaa said.
She warned that if the trend of making railway stations and trains exclusive to RPF personnel, "a time may come when the district police may be barred from entering Railway Stations for making the arrest of accused wanted in local police cases".