*Tall claims on modernization turn out to be ‘hollow’
JAMMU, Feb 26: Police Manual, which is considered as systematic and scientifically designed treatise to be followed strictly in administrative, functional, professional and financial matters, is being observed in breach especially with regard to creation of necessary facilities at the Police Station level in Jammu and Kashmir.
This can be gauged from the official data which establishes that instructions contained in the Police Manual vis-à-vis making available requisite facilities in the Police Stations are not being taken seriously by the concerned authorities in the Home Department as well as Jammu and Kashmir Police Organiz-ation.
Police Manual consists of relevant, significant and universally accepted work standards, norms and values and what should be the basic facilities at the ground level has also been defined in the Police Manual so as to facilitate the top officers in fulfilling the needs and demands of police personnel at Police Station level for ensuring smooth functioning.
As per the Police Manual, every Police Station should have a reception room, interrogation room, rest room, sufficient lock-up rooms and other basic facilities besides requisite number of chambers for the Investigating Officers.
“However, the prevailing situation is dismal in nearly 50% of the Police Stations in Jammu and Kashmir mainly because of non-adherence to the Police Manual”, official sources told EXCELSIOR while quoting the data available with the Home Department.
Out of total 215 Police Stations across Jammu and Kashmir, 97 Police Stations are without reception rooms. Similarly, 96 Police Stations are without interrogation rooms and 97 Police Stations are without rest rooms. This dismal scenario is notwithstanding the fact that these are basic necessities.
“While reception rooms are required to guide the visiting persons properly, the interrogation rooms are imperative for questioning of suspects/accused beyond the glare of everybody. Similarly, rest rooms are of utmost importance so as to help the cops to take a break after hectic duties”, sources said.
They further informed that 86 Police Stations are having only single lock-up room as a result of which it becomes very difficult to keep in custody more than two suspects or accused particularly in the aftermath of incidents of clashes as the same is fraught with danger of fight inside the lock-up. Moreover, there are numerous Police Stations which lack one or the other basic facility.
“If the State has failed to ensure adherence to Police Manual on these aspects what could be the fate of set of guidelines vis-à-vis other important matters can be easily gauged”, sources remarked, adding “lack of reception rooms, interrogation rooms, rest rooms and lock-up rooms in nearly 50% Police Stations has proved as hollow the tall claims about modernization of police force”.
Holding lack of adequate financial assistance responsible for these deficiencies, sources said, “it is a matter of serious concern that modernization of police has been left only at the disposal of Union Ministry of Home Affairs”, adding “police being a non-development department gets a second-rate treatment in the financial allocation”.
Stressing on the need of earmarking adequate funds for modernization of police in every sector by the State Government, sources said, “a modernized police organization will become progressive in its functioning”, adding “no-doubt Ministry of Home Affairs’ schemes should also be utilized for meeting the requirement of police force but Government should not look at MHA for every requirement as per the Police Manual”.
About Modernization of Police Force Programme, a Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Ministry of Home Affairs, sources said, “this scheme was stopped midway for building infrastructure from 2015-16 for which the matter was taken up with the Government of India for its continuation. However, MHA has yet not conveyed any decision”.
It is pertinent to mention here that Modernization of Police Force Programme was introduced in J&K in the year 2000 initially for a period of five years on 50:50 sharing basis. The scheme was repeatedly extended up to 2011-12 on 100% grants by MHA and thereafter extended up to 2016-17 on 90:10 sharing basis to modernize the infrastructure of Police Department.
Though much infrastructure was created under this scheme yet a lot needs to be done for which Modernization of Police Force Programme is required to be extended, sources said.