Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti has given in to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) pressure, issuing a directive that residents of the state would not be eligible to become police officers, with deputy inspector general (DIG) ranks and above, unless their names were cleared by the Centre.
Following a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, chaired by Mehbooba, an order was issued by the state home department that renamed Kashmir Police Services as Jammu and Kashmir Police Service (JKPS) and spelled out new eligibility criteria for Inspector General (IG) and Deputy Inspector General (DIG) posts – to make local police cadre officers ineligible for them.
As per the new cadre revision of the JKPS, it was made necessary that officers will be promoted to the rank of DIG and above level only after they are inducted into the Indian Police Service (IPS) by the Centre, in consultation with the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).
State's home department, which is headed by Mehbooba, had earlier proposed that parity be brought in the police and administrative service in the state and officers who are appointed through local cadre be elevated to the ranks of DIGs and IGs without being inducted into the IPS.
However, BJP opposed the proposal in a cabinet meeting – from which Mehbooba walked out – following which a cabinet subcommittee was constituted by the state government comprising ministers from both the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and BJP, to sort out the differences.
Even as PDP ministers pressed for reserving DIG and IG posts for Kashmir Police officers, the committee – which was headed by BJP minister Chander Prakash Ganga – recommended that DIG and IG level posts be earmarked for IPS officers only. Mehbooba relented and agreed in the cabinet meeting held recently.
BJP saw the new order as a vindication of its stand to revoke Article 370 – that grants special autonomous status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir – to enable the people from outside to get employed in the state and own properties as well.
The BJP had also been opposing the nomenclature used for the local police service – as Kashmir Police service – and got it renamed to Jammu and Kashmir Police service. The party had bagged all seats in the Hindu-majority Jammu region on the plank that governments representing Muslim-dominated Kashmir had discriminated against the Jammu region.
As per the home department order, the local cadre officers in the Gazette service would begin as deputy superintendents of police in the junior scale and rise up to the super time scale position. However, six posts which were of the DIG and IG rank and figure in the super time scale pay grade one and two will now be re-designated. The posts of DIG Vigilance, DIG Home Guards, Divisional Commandant Home Guards and Civil Defence and IGP Civil-Military Liason and IGP Human Rights will now be re-designated.
BJP chief spokesman, Sunil Sethi, said that the party had been pressing for the appointment of DIG and IG rank officers only after IPS induction. "What is wrong if the officers get inducted into IPS and then become eligible for the DIG and IG rank posts? They are judged on their abilities and also follow certain criteria,'' he said.
Local police officers, who didn't wish to be named, however, said that the order was discriminatory. "After 1999, none of the police officers has been inducted into IPS from Jammu and Kashmir," a local officer said.
According to officials, as many as 50 positions of IPS reserved for Jammu and Kashmir remain vacant as the government has not been able to fix the seniority of the local officers due to the row between those who were directly employed as DSP rank officers and those who were promoted.
For nearly 15 years, from 1984 till 1999, Kashmir Police services exams were not held and the vacancies were only filled by promoting inspector-rank officers. But after 1999, when the first batch of the DSPs was appointed by the Jammu and Kashmir Public Service Commission (JKPSC), inspector-rank officers who got promoted as DSPs moved court contending that they deserve better chances of promotion as they were senior to new DSPs. The row has not been settled as of now.
But the new government order to rename the cadre and fix new eligibility criteria has even left the senior officers in a fix. "As per the new orders, two senior local cadre officers in super time scale would have to swap positions every few years, when they become eligible for transfers. This is a mockery of the rules," a top government official said.
Local police officers said that they see the government proposal to appoint only IPS officers to DIG and above positions as a directive that they "can't be trusted for sensitive posts to deal with law and order problems."
"In the IPS cadre, a number of factors are checked including a clearance from different security agencies,'' said an official, adding that in the new cadre review, monetary benefits would be given to very few officers in the junior ranks.
"Only 25 percent of the junior scale posts are eligible for non-functional selection grade, in which officers will receive higher monetary benefits but will not get promoted to the higher rank. It should have been at least made 50 percent," an official said.
Unlike the local administrative service officers in the Kashmir Administrative Service (KAS) cadre, for whom there is no bar on their promotion and they can even rise up to the level of Secretaries without being inducted into the IAS, the clearance of IPS for even lower rank posts of DIG has left the officers miffed.
State revenue minister, AR Veeri, said that the government has tried to help out the local officers by fixing their cadre. "We need to do more so that the promotional avenues of the local cadre officers improve," he said.
Updated Date: Jun 09, 2017 13:55:13 IST