Monday, July 13, 2009

SAP jawans embroiled in petty issues

Gyan Prakash, TNN 13 July 2009, 06:17am IST

PATNA: Special Auxiliary Police (SAP) was raised as one of the elite forces of the state for tackling Maoists. With an Army background, SAP

definitely pushed back Naxalites on the backfoot though in the process suffered few casualties. Ironically, the same elite force is being mishandled, misutilised and allowed to ruin by mandarins of the police headquarters.

What is more irksome and demoralising is that the elite force is now embroiled in petty issues. A SAP jawan was found beating a disabled businessman, Trilok Agrawal, dealing with bangles in City Chowk area over occupying seat in a three wheeler. About a week back, a SAP jawan entered a house in Vaishali to rob the chastity of women folk.

As if these incidents were not enough, the elite jawans could be seen extorting money from truck drivers on national highways and late in the night in the state capital as well. Most often the force is seen even regulating traffic and constitute raiding parties to catch petty criminals. If the trend is not checked, the SAP would definitely loose its sheen.

A senior officer at the police headquarters, however, maintained that the SAP is being allowed to engage in normal law and order duties due to acute shortage of personnel in the constabulary rank. Citing an example, he said that there is a shortage of 2,500 constables in the state capital alone. Against this, only 500 SAP jawans have been allotted to the Patna police. Similar, situation prevails in other parts of the state, he added.

Initially, 5,000 ex-armymen were enrolled in the police force as SAP jawans on contract basis. Later, on the basis of their performance, the number swelled to 7,500. Currently, its number fluctuates between 8,500 and 9,000 even as the state cabinet has sanctioned recruitment of 12,000 SAP jawans.

The turn out of the SAP definitely reposed confidence among the people which forced the state government to boast of about it which was unique in the country. Later, other states approached Bihar police for the modalities on which SAP was formed. No doubt SAP did commendable job in containing Naxalites activities in Dumaria and Imamganj, besides effectively launching counter offensive against them in Jamui and Nawada districts.

It is unfortunate that the SAP jawans are indulging in extorting money from truckers and beating commoners on flimsy ground - a la Bihar police style.

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