J&K Police – Will UT status deliver justice?

Rajan Gandhi
Jammu and Kashmir Police is no doubt a force subjected to, really hostile and tormenting job profile. Thirty years and still counting is a time to face the never ending brunt of terrorism with thousands of sacrifices by JKP jawans and still fighting day and night to crush militancy. Police is not only facing terrorism but more pinching is the general public perception about police despite 24x7x365 days of tireless and thankless service to the society. Policing is no more a job of responsibility or to serve nation but has simply become a tool in the hands of politicians and higher officials. A visit to any police line will depict a sorry state of canteen, filthy unhygienic living conditions, 24X7 duty without any respite or concern, totally neglected families with no one there to help them out, neither society nor government. Ask any police martyr’s family who at present is taking care of them and how many times widow of the martyr has to visit various offices to get their dues as there is hustle bustle for ten to fifteen days after martyrdom under media glare and then everyone gets involved in their own lives just forgetting the social and moral responsibility of taking care of the distressed family.
Right from the recruitment to training a total outdated methodology is followed with no scientific training, no modern cyber crime training, no proper forensic analysis in curriculum making things totally unrealistic when the jawan gets on field duty with the result non registration of FIRs and shoddy investigation. How many IPS officers of our state undergo training at our own training colleges, answer itself will reveal the standards maintained. In army and other states professional police force take services of their best officers to train new recruits but in our state Police Academy transfer is sort of punitive post meant to sideline the official. Depleted strength of Selection Grade Constables, who act as IOs in police stations, makes it virtually impossible for SHOs to work in a co-ordeal professional way with higher ups expecting them to work 24×7 continuously which is virtually impossible for any human body. No DPC for last so many years means no pruning of the best among the lower ranks for promotion, what is the criteria followed right now, pick and choose. But who cares. Frequent visits of politicians and personal presence of SHO/Chowki Officer during their visits is almost a daily routine and an additional duty now. During visit of any higher official one has to arrange everything, from where the money comes is a question which everyone knows but nobody wants to answer. With limited daily petrol/diesel allowance how the mobile units will function is anybody’s guess only.
From every policeman’s salary a fixed amount gets cut in the name of welfare of jawans and their families but where this money is utilized is a debatable issue. Despite terrorism affected state no police housing society on the pattern of Punjab Police to make residential colonies being developed for safety and social responsibilities of jawans’ families especially in terrorist affected districts. Few police schools are insufficient to take care of jawans’ children. No reservation for wards of this toiling belt force, with most of them living far away from families and not able to devote proper attention to their dependents. No proper police hospitals despite so many injuries/fatalities on army hospital pattern is another issue neglected for too long.
Stagnation is one issue which has totally demoralizing effect on the entire cadre of police. A young dynamic person recruited as ASI retires as Inspector with just one promotion in his entire career as compared to other organizations where even clerks have retired as directors, what can be bigger mockery of the system, everyone from politicians, bureaucrats to higher IPS officers know the factual position but no corrective measures have been taken till now. Astonishingly inspector rank police personal neither gets higher grade of pay nor designation, from where the motivation to serve will come? Till 5th pay commission pay grade of SO and inspector was same but since implementation of 6th pay commission SO’s have got better pay grade, why and how is anybody’s guess. Even if promoted to DySP rank they are drawing salary of inspector on OPG (on own pay and grade) and even retires on this grade itself. Being a disciplined force there is no association to highlight all these issues though a few of policemen are courageous enough to take the matter in court which directed government to settle the issue and even contempt proceedings have been initiated but till date no solution on ground though seniority list of SIs’ has been made.
Another important point is deployment of Armed Police cadre inspectors as SHOs despite availability of executive cadre inspectors who are sitting in DPL with virtually no significant work. At the time of recruitment itself executive and armed branch are allocated and why these appointments are done is beyond simple explanation except that helping their own blue eyed persons. Irony is that these armed cadre inspectors get promotions on the basis of availability of posts in armed police and then get postings in executive branch, jumping the seniority list which is totally illegal. These armed cadre personnel’s also go on deputation to even CBI, IB, RAW, Narcotics, Traffic and even at UN assignments, how they manage all these again raise many eyebrows. No fixed tenure for SHOs, why is the question which nobody wants to answer. Sordid story doesn’t end up here only, any inspector under transfer has to report to ZPHQ where respective IG allots range, then DIG of range allocates district and ultimately SSP of district allocates work, this whole process may take 3-5 months and till the person joins DPL salary of policeman is not released.
In Crime meetings no detailed discussions as of today, only figures are important. Latest trend of increasing FIRs on NDPS has created unnecessary pressure. With police stations facing acute shortage of staff and no provision of shifts to run police stations, on ground work force is stretched beyond human levels. Case of sportsmen who joined JKP with enthusiasm and zeal to deliver is much more pitiable as instead of focusing on their passion to excel at national and international level to bring laurels to state and JKP, they are made toil on field duties, leave alone sponsoring their tours for participation, their leaves are not sanctioned and they have to attend events at their own cost without pay. What can be more insulting for a sportsperson with no recognition, no appreciation and no promotion even after winning gold medals at international events, is this way to treat your sports assets?
On one hand no money to spend for welfare of jawans and on other hand crores being spent on higher officials’ accommodation by police as well as estate department, it seems Jammu and Kashmir Police has some other priorities on hand instead of focusing on the whole police force. Since no united forum for lower cadre all this goes without media glare and public attention and even government administration is just a silent spectator. Is this the way we treat the saviors of our society, answers are not hard to find but who will bell the cat in the end. With Jammu and Kashmir now going to be UT will it change the situation on ground for this belt force and whether timely corrective measures are taken to address all these glaring lapses remains to be seen. We cannot bring back our martyrs but our corrective actions will be a tribute to them.