The paramilitary and police forces in the country have lost 31,895 personnel in the last 53 years in the line of duty but they are still fighting for the "martyr" status for the dead officers and men like in the the Armed Forces.
As the nation commemorates the sacrifices of the police personnel yet again during the Police Commemoration Day tomorrow, the force renewed its demand that the dead personnel be declared 'shaeed' (martyr). The personnel of the three services--Army, Navy and Air Force--are called 'martyrs' when they are killed during duty, but there is no official notification or order till date which states that men and women of police and paramilitary forces who get killed in anti-Naxal operations or while rendering internal security duties regularly are honoured as 'shaheed'.
Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde will be the chief guest at the commemmorative event while wreath laying services at 'shaheed' tombs will be held in various states. "There seems to be only lip service being done for these men and women who get killed almost every other day in the line of duty, either in Naxal operations or fighting militants or terrorists in the country. "Is it not unfair with these troopers when they are not given the credit that they deserve?" General Secretary of the all India central paramilitary forces association P S Nair told PTI today. "It is not about the desire for the word or the categorisation, but about the respect and honour that is long overdue to these personnel," Nair said.
The central police forces, with an estimated strength of about nine lakh personnel at present, are only authorised to issue pension-related benefits to the killed personnel's family and receive gallantry and police medals. A martyr tag ensures more benefits for the kin of the deceased personnel, including a state government job and special pass for train journey. The Union Home Ministry, which is the controlling authority for the police forces, had written to state governments in this regard earlier this year, but a final decision in this regard is still awaited.
A senior paramilitary official, privy to the developments, said the states have to be taken onboard as police forces work under their command and hence a final decision to announce this much deserved honour is pending. Paramilitary and central police forces have made numerous representations to the Home Ministry and state governments, saying this honour for the troops who render a variety of security duties will not only act as a morale booster but will also enhance their self-respect.