MHA’s concerns remain unaddressed


The practice of engaging Special Police Officers (SPOs) to assist Jammu and Kashmir Police in combating militancy, strengthening intelligence grid and security related operational duties was started several years back and the financial assistance for the same is being provided by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. During the past some years voices were raised from different quarters against political interference in the selection of the SPOs. Even the Ministry of Home Affairs came to know that even those persons who are not fit for the task have been engaged as SPOs on the instructions of the influential politicians particularly during the PDP-BJP Coalition Government. Union Ministry of Home Affairs' concerns over antecedents and performance of the Special Police Officers (SPOs) engaged in Jammu and Kashmir during the past six years have remained unaddressed as process of their screening started over six months back has not reached the logical conclusion till date.
Accordingly, Ministry of Home Affairs found it appropriate to carry out a review of the existing Special Police Officers in J&K including nature of duties performed, utility and efficacy. Thereafter, formal instructions were issued to the State Home Department for carrying out this task so that unsuitable and undeserving SPOs are disengaged in order to achieve the objective behind the scheme. Vide Government Order No.921-Home of 2018 dated July 12, 2018, Principal Secretary to Government, Home Department R K Goyal constituted District Level Committees comprising Deputy Commissioner (concerned), Superintendent of Police (concerned) and Deputy Superintendent of Police (CID-SB) concerned. These Committees were asked to assess and screen the SPOs selected during the past six years with regard to their appointments, antecedents and performance from the view point of jobs required to be performed by SPOs in assisting the J&K Police in the matters of operational duties vis-a-vis Counter Insurgency Operations, intelligence gathering, maintenance of law and order and guarding of vital installations. Again vide Government Order No.1389-Home (P) dated October 5, 2018, the Principal Secretary Home Department modified the earlier two orders and ordered that the District Level Committees shall submit the respective reports by or before December 15, 2018 while adhering to the terms and conditions as contained in the original order dated July 12, 2018.
However, this deadline has also been missed by many District Level Committees as a result of which process of screening of SPOs engaged during last six years across Jammu and Kashmir could not be taken to the logical conclusion till date. Because of the failure of these District Level Committees to strictly adhere to the timelines the concerns of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs have also remained unaddressed till date and large number of unsuitable and undeserving SPOs still remain engaged.

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