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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Territorial battles

Tussle between CAPF and IPS officers finds a new battleground in J&K.

Updated: May 31, 2020 8:47:52 pm
The comments of Vijay Kumar are ill-timed, especially since the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) officers are involved in a legal tussle with the Indian Police Service (IPS) officers in the Delhi High Court.

Written by M P Nathanael

Certain unsavoury comments by Vijay Kumar, an IPS officer of Jammu and Kashmir cadre, have upset Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) officers. The Special Operations Group (SOG) of the J&K police — along with the Army and Rashtriya Rifles — and the CRPF are in the forefront of a majority of anti-militancy operations in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

Kumar, presently the inspector general of police, Kashmir zone, had stated in a meeting of the joint forces in Baramulla on April 29, that operations in the Valley are launched by the Army and Rashtriya Rifles on the basis of intelligence inputs of the J&K police and “the name of CRPF is inserted just like that”. He stated this in the presence of the director general of J&K police, Dilbagh Singh, who had chaired the meeting. Many CRPF personnel took to social media to vent their anger.

The comments of Kumar are ill-timed, especially since the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) officers are involved in a legal tussle with the Indian Police Service (IPS) officers in the Delhi High Court. In 2019, the cadre officers of paramilitary forces had moved the Delhi HC arguing that moving ahead, the newly created IG and DIG posts should be filled by cadre-level officers, instead of IPS officers. This fact seems to have been ignored by the state government and the Ministry of Home Affairs for any intervention. Consequent to the 2019 verdict of the Supreme Court on granting of Organised Group A Service (OGAS) status to the CAPF officers, they have been crying hoarse for implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission. Having accepted the recommendation of the Pay Commission to grant Non Functional Financial Upgradation (NFFU) to all Group A Service officers, there is a deliberate attempt to deprive the CAPF officers of the benefit of OGAS status. The tardy and wrong implementation has led to much disaffection among the CAPF.

The granting of OGAS to CAPF officers debars IPS officers from deputation to the CAPFs — the Central Reserve Police Force, Border Security Force, Indo Tibetan Border Police, Central Industrial Security Force, the Sashastra Seema Bal and the National Security Guards. However, the government made an effort recently to get the stay on the deputation of IPS officers to CAPF vacated on the flimsy ground of urgency due to the spread of coronavirus. The Court turned down the plea stating that there was no urgency involved in the matter whatsoever. Hitherto, 50 per cent of the posts in the rank of IGs were reserved for IPS officers. The heads of these forces, who happen to be from the IPS, are reluctant to promote officers of the CAPFs to fill up vacancies in the rank of DIGs and IGs. The Railway Protection Force, under the ministry of railways, has already implemented the Pay Commissions report and granted the benefits of OGAS scheme.

Since the capabilities of the CRPF officers have been questioned, the CRPF officers are out to expose the malfeasance of IPS officers in the CAPFs. The use of manpower and vehicles by retired or repatriated IPS officers long after they have retired or repatriated to their state cadre is being questioned. Officers who are repatriated continue to avail of the services of the CRPF facilities.

Sensing the unrest among officers, the CRPF headquarters issued orders on May 15 to withdraw all manpower and vehicles presently in the services of long-retired IPS officers. According to a rough estimate, 104 retired IAS and IPS officers, largely based in New Delhi and other state capitals, have among them 118 constables, 98 cooks, 54 personal security officers and 100 drivers apart from 100 vehicles. The recent report of four personnel of the Border Security Force, serving at the residence of a retired additional director general-ranking IPS officer of BSF afflicted with COVID-19, has been quoted as a reason for the withdrawal of manpower.

The BSF and the CRPF was given the responsibility of combating terrorism in the Valley over two decades ago. The state police had almost been rendered ineffective in the face of terror spread by the militants. It speaks volumes of the CRPF’s operational capability that as many as 195 gallantry medals including the Kirti Chakra and Shaurya Chakra were bagged by CRPF personnel between January 2019 and January 2020. The CRPF is the largest central force successfully combating Maoists in Left Wing Extremism-affected states.

When I was serving as deputy inspector general of police (Operations) of the CRPF in Srinagar between 2006 and 2009, several operations were carried out along with the SOG. The Army and Rashtriya Rifles were never involved in any of the operations in and around Srinagar, and yet the CRPF was successful in neutralising several militants.

The bitterness left behind by Kumar’s comments will not vanish soon.

The long-pending implementation of NFFU needs to be sped up strictly in accordance with the rules governing the OGAS scheme. This would not only ensure justice, but also boost the morale of not just the CRPF officers, but of other central police forces too.

The writer retired as inspector general of police, CRPF

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