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Dear Govt, Give Paramilitary Forces NFFU Grant, Not ‘Recognition’

CAPF cadres are becoming increasingly restive because of the blatant miscarriage of justice being imposed on them.

Published
Opinion
4 min read
Image used for representational purposes.
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“Don’t worry when you are not recognised, but strive to be worthy of recognition.” - Abraham Lincoln

These words of Abraham Lincoln have perhaps been the guiding principles of the cadres of the Central Para Military Forces — be it their tackling of militancy in Kashmir, or the Maoist insurgency, or ensuring the overall security and sanctity of India’s borders. No amount of hardship including subhuman living conditions, isolation and long separation from families, lack of avenues of career advancement, has ever been able to dampen the fighting spirits of these valiant soldiers.

However, these cadres are becoming increasingly restive because of the blatant ‘miscarriage’ of justice being imposed on them by the bureaucrats of the Ministry of Home Affairs, in ‘cahoots’ with the IPS officers and their association.

This, in spite of the fact that the locus standi of the IPS officers represented through the IPS association, was rejected outright by both the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court in the case.

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‘Manipulation by IPS Lobby to Deny Full Benefits to CPMF Cadres’

The Supreme Court order confirming the findings and order of Delhi High Court in the case granting ‘Organised’ status since 1986, and consequent service and financial benefits to these cadres, came in January 2019. The intervening eight months have seen severe manipulation by the IPS lobby to deny the full benefits to the cadres.

Recognition as an ‘Organised’ service explicitly implies that these cadres have to be given the benefit of Non-Functional Financial Upgradation in accordance with the instructions contained in April 2009 orders of the Government of India, ie, granting financial upgradation at various stages by equating them with IAS officers joining the service two years after them. Fresh service rules would also have to be notified to give effect to these orders. However, since the orders are to be implemented retrospectively from 1 January 2006, hence, the one-time relaxation of existing rules has to be granted by the government.

IPS Officers Want to Retain ‘Stranglehold’ Over The Forces

It is ironical that the very same IPS officers who opposed the plea of cadre officers tooth and nail through proxy, are the ones who have usurped the powers to interpret the orders. The Boards consisting of cadre officers recommending implementation in true spirit of the Court orders have been dissolved, and the IPS officers have taken it upon themselves to decide the fate of 20,000 serving and retired officers of these cadres.

They have refused to change the rules, and also declined to obtain the required exemption for retrospective implementation.

They ignore the fact that orders to amend relevant rules are inherent in the court orders, because the writ petitions which have been allowed, had pleaded for that.

The IPS officers have started a social media tirade against the cadre officers eliciting strong rebuttals. Some IPS officers have gone to the extent of calling cadre officers ‘traitors’ and ‘ISI agents’ and other words to that effect. Protecting their vested interest as against national interest appears to be the sole aim of these deputationists, who, as leaders of the force, are supposed to ensure proper Human Resource practices to enhance efficiency, and therefore, national security.

The IPS officers, at all cost, want to retain their stranglehold over these forces, which for them is a sabbatical and an easy way out from the inconvenient political dispensation in their home states. The fact that the CPMF officers have resorted to the use of social media to air their grievances and to counter the propaganda of the IPS lobby, is an indicator of the level of frustration amongst them.

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Nation Appears to be Failing in Recognising Service of CPMF Officers

Serving in some of the most hostile terrains in the country, ranging from the endless jungles of Dandakaranya to the hills of Northeast India, and from the strife-torn streets of the Kashmir Valley to the country’s desolate borders with Pakistan, Bangladesh and China, the officers and soldiers of the CPMF are the cutting edge of the State’s response system to anti-national elements (ANEs), and trans-border criminals trying to disrupt our democracy.

Spending nearly 8-9 months away from home in hostile regions and leading their men through thick and thin, the cadre officers are the soul of the CAPFs.

Their acumen and appreciation of ground realities, over the years of their work, makes them amongst the most battle-hardened commanders at the nation’s disposal. In places where the writ of the insurgents and naxals runs large, these officers and their troops are the only semblance of ‘government’ for the poor and affected.

Yet, when it comes to recognising their services, the nation appears to be failing these valiant CPMF officers. Bleak career prospects apart, these officers are having to suffer double jeopardy by way of unjust deputation of IPS officers to man higher level supervisory posts, in-spite of total lack of domain knowledge. Denial of benefits of OGAS and NFFU achieved through a hard fought legal battle, is like applying salt to injury.

A Never-Before-Seen Despondency

The despondency amongst cadre officers at this scale has rarely — if never — been witnessed in the past. The fact that these officers have resorted to writing en masse to higher authorities, including the prime minister and home minister, openly expressing their grievance, is enough indication that they appear to be treating the denial of their rightful dues as an existential threat.

It doesn’t matter to these men and women that no one will recognise them the next time they see them standing on guard while participating in the Amarnath Yatra, or that paeans are sung for them after they are “mistaken” as the “army” when they are patrolling the border or helping in disaster relief, or even when someone casts his/her vote under their watchful eyes to exercise their “fundamental” right.

But it does matter to these brave and hard-working men and women that their contribution to the well-being of the nation is recognised by not denying them their rightful dues.

These men and women are requesting for nothing more, in requesting the government to implement the court orders in letter and spirit at the earliest.

(The writer retired from the BSF as an additional director-general. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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