BSF jawans deployed for 'wedding duty': It's a shame how IPS officers are misusing manpower

Sanjiv Krishan Sood
Sanjiv Krishan SoodNov 25, 2017 | 18:10

BSF jawans deployed for 'wedding duty': It's a shame how IPS officers are misusing manpower

I felt ashamed and belittled after reading the headline “BSF men in uniform deployed to guide guests to venue of IG daughter’s wedding" in The Indian Express on November 20. A prominent English news channel also had this story as "breaking news" followed by a five-to-six-minute video report.

However, neither the newspaper nor the TV channel brought out the fact that the IG concerned is an Indian Police Service officer on deputation to the BSF.


The reports highlighted the fact of misuse of manpower resources for a private function like wedding. It was alarming to note the extent of misuse - troops were withdrawn from even sensitive areas such as Jammu and Punjab even as the force continues to face acute shortage of boots on the ground.

In fact, the latest misuse may only be the tip of the iceberg. I find no reason to disbelieve my friends who tell me that besides the manpower diverted from Punjab and Jammu border, a large number of personnel and other resources have also been diverted from Bangalore where the officer concerned is posted. This, according to them, has been done by sending people on leave and on pretext of some temporary duty to Delhi and Chandigarh.

The statement attributed to Border Security Force in above reports that the manpower was "deployed as a matter of protocol as the director general was attending the function" is a clear indicator of the element of truth in reports of misuse and an attempt to cover-up.  

Image: Reuters photo

I have always thought and still continue to believe that most of the IPS officers come to Central Armed Forces such as the BSF to avoid unfavourable political dispensation in their states or just to fulfil their personal agenda of getting a cushy posting either at their home state or in Delhi. Unaware and unwilling to learn about the operational philosophy and ethos of the organisations, they spend their tenure in pursuit of fulfilling their personal requirements through liberal misuse of vast resources of these forces, which are generally not available to them during postings in fund-strapped state police.


The disdain of these officers for the ethos of the force is apparent in several such instances of mismanagement. In 2016, India Today had carried stories of withdrawal of large number of troops from borders for the farewell parade of director general of BSF. Simultaneously, another story was carried about the wife of the then DG CRPF being carried in a palanquin by CRPF soldiers at her farewell by the ladies upon retirement of the director general.

But such reports and temporary adverse publicity have failed to make any impact because of the political patronage that these IPS officers enjoy. Irrespective of the report, the said farewell parade still took place. In fact, a similar farewell parade also was held a few days ago for the retiring director general of Shashastra Seema Bal (SSB). 

The blatant misuse of power on many occasions is manifestly cloaked as an activity for the welfare of the troops. Organisations like the BSF and the CRPF hold an annual welfare fete for which large numbers of troops from across far-flung borders are diverted to Delhi for a two or three day event where stalls are put up to display items prepared in the welfare centres. However, actually what happens is that the formations send locally made goods (touted as made in welfare centres) for display and sale in these fetes. The so-called profit earned for welfare centres from sale of these items is actually a heavy loss to the exchequer, if diversion of a couple of thousand of troops from their primary duty, expenditure on their travel and stay, expenditure on transport and other resources diverted from borders and other such contingent expenditures are taken into account.   


Of late, these armed forces have been remained in headlines for organising events like half marathon, cycle safari or camel safari - something that's alright to an extent. But when over indulgence in such activities starts to affect the operational efficiency, it's time to wake up to the reality.

That the operational efficiency of these forces is getting compromised is apparent from several setbacks, especially to the CRPF in operations against militants and Maoists. The BSF has done better, but then it cannot afford to be complacent and compromise on core competency with such abrasive misuse and display of feudal mindset, as shown during the wedding of the IG's daughter.

Such misuse of manpower and other resources is reprehensible and must be probed properly by an independent agency. The sad display of lack of integrity once again brings to fore the rationale of continuing with the policy of inducting IPS officers on deputation to command higher echelons of these forces. Most IPS officers are out of depth in handling the affairs of these large forces and their continued induction is a serious compromise with national security.

Last updated: November 25, 2017 | 18:12
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