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Jharkhand policemen go on strike

Ranchi, Feb. 23: The Jharkhand government today hardened its stance on policemen on strike, saying it was determined not to concede “illegitimate” demands.

The policemen countered the government by asserting that they would not resume duty till their demands were met and refused to surrender arms and ammunition in violation of the norms.

The major demands of the striking policemen are time-bound promotion or increased salary in lieu of it, central pay package for fire brigade personnel, uniform allowance of Rs 1,000 a month for CID jawans and state commandos and a blanket ban on the transfer of Jharkhand Policemen’s Association office-bearers.

The policemen, who went on mass casual leave from last midnight, claim their strike has been a complete success with all 30,000 constables abstaining from duty. The home department has, however, maintained there has been no adverse impact so far and alternative arrangements have been made by requisitioning additional companies of the CRPF.

State home secretary J.B. Tubid said the alternative arrangements were made to ensure that the strike does not paralyse policing in the state. “The genuine demands have already been accepted or are under consideration. But we will not succumb to any pressure to accept their illegitimate demands,” he said.

“Our primary concern is Ranchi city. We have got four additional companies of the CRPF, which is sufficient for manning the city and its important installations. The policemen posted in extremist-affected areas continue to be in their pickets. We have deployed 800 home guard jawans to ensure free and fair elections at Poraiyahat (on Wednesday),” Tubid said.

The home secretary countered the striking policemen’s claim that 30,000 jawans were on strike. “The total strength of the state is 28,000, out of which 8,000 posts are vacant. The alternative arrangement is being resisted by a few striking policemen who are creating some problems, but we are prepared to face them,” he added.

After consultations with chief secretary G. Krishnan, the home secretary has assured career promotion benefit to those who are otherwise not qualified by providing a 40-day crash course to them. The training will be imparted to enable the jawans to qualify for the senior posts, a government spokesperson said. Those who have gone on strike can also be terminated, he added.

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