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Why Are CAPF Jawans on Poll Duty Being Denied Their Human Rights?

Did fratricide incidents in Jharkhand occur due to the jawans’ pathetic health and hygiene conditions?

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India
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Video Editor: Abhishek Sharma

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In a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Assistant Commandant Rahul Solanki pointed out the lack of basic amenities, including water and toilet facilities, for jawans on poll duty in Jharkhand.

“... This kind of pathetic and inhumane attitude of civil authorities towards health and hygiene of jawans is nothing but a violation of human dignity and their human rights.”
Solanki, in his letter dated 23 November

State official orders were issued to fix the situation on ground, but nothing much changed.

What has followed since the letter are at least two cases of fratricide. On 9 December, a Chhattisgarh Armed Force constable Vikramaditya Rajwade shot dead his company commander Inspector Mela Ram Kurre at a CRPF camp in Ranchi. He then killed himself. Just 24 hours later, a jawan shot dead two of his CRPF colleagues, including an officer, at his camp in Jharkhand.

We do not condone the murders and believe the law should most definitely take its course. However, the root cause of these incidents must be examined.

In both the cases, though an official reason has not yet been stated, a CRPF official told The Quint that prima facie the incidents could be attributed to fatigue and stress of the jawans due to continuous election duty and the chronic issue of poor basic amenities.

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In terms of salary and service benefits, too, the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) lag behind their Indian Police Service (IPS) counterparts. A group of CAPF officers had fought an almost eight-year long legal battle to be treated on par with the IPS, and though the Supreme Court ruled in their favour in February 2019, the government is yet to notify and implement the order.

Thousands of CAPF jawans are deployed in some of the most difficult combat zones of the country – be it anti-Naxal operations, border security, tackling terror in J&K, or insurgents in the Northeast. Then, why are our jawans treated so badly? Don’t they have the right to do their job with dignity?

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