Par panel cautions govt against excessive deployment of paramilitary forces

The excessive deployment of paramilitary forces in states for law and order duties will adversely affect its core areas of anti-insurgency and border guarding operations, a Parliamentary panel warned the government on Monday.

The Committee on Estimates led by veteran BJP MP Murli Manohar Joshi told the government that the “tendency” of states to look towards the Centre “even for day to day” law and order issues “need to be reversed.

In its report ‘Central Armed Police Forces and Internal Security Challenges — Evaluation and Response Mechanism’, the Committee said it was concerned to note the “heavy dependence” of states on paramilitary personnel. The number of deployment of paramilitary battalions has increased from 91 in 2012-13 to 119 in 2016-17.

It noted the central forces are “sometimes detained even after the task is over and are deployed continuously” in some of the states for holding elections. The panel said it indicated that a “gradual trend” of substituting state police with paramilitary forces.

“What is disturbing more is the situation whereby over deployment is likely to affect the anti-insurgency and border guarding operations, besides curtailing the training needs of these forces. Not only that, continuous deployment leaves little time for recuperation/rest thereby creating stress among the paramilitary personnel,” the report tabled in Parliament said.

The panel suggested that the states must develop their own systems and upgrade as well as augment their own police forces by providing adequate training and equipping them with state of the art weapons, and enable them to fight militancy and insurgency besides handling law and order.

It was critical of the state governments for not doing enough to contain internal disturbances and that they are heavily dependent on the Centre by frequently asking for paramilitary forces.

The panel noted that paramilitary personnel were working under constant pressure and difficult conditions. “Non-availability of state-of-the-art equipment and facilities like winter clothes to paramilitary personnel not only out them at disadvantageous position against the insurgents and terrorists but also compromise the security of the country,” the panel said.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Mar 20, 2018)

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