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Penalty for homeguard abuse

Calcutta, Aug. 6: The government today said disciplinary action would be taken against police officials found engaging homeguards for personal work.

“It is a crime to engage homeguards for personal work. If we find any police official of any rank or position engaging a homeguard for such purposes, we will not only seek an explanation, but also take action against him,” minister of state for civil defence Srikumar Mukherjee said at Writers’ Buildings.

The minister’s statement — after a meeting with home secretary A.K. Deb and senior police officials like director-general D.C. Vajpai and city commissioner Sujoy Chakraborty — comes in the wake of the alleged ill-treatment of two homeguards last week by additional superintendent of police (rural) B. Garg.

Mukherjee said it has been decided that from now on, postings of homeguards will be specific and the place of their “actual deployment” would be mentioned in a revised form used to order postings.

“This means that a homeguard posted at X will not be allowed to perform any kind of duty at Y. If a homeguard is found during surprise checks and visits working at any other place than his place of posting, he will immediately be marked absent,” said the minister.

He added that to make the posting of a homeguard “foolproof”, the revised form will have to be jointly signed by the respective district commandant of homeguards and the senior adjutant or deputy superintendent of police dealing with it.

Earlier the government had issued a circular prohibiting homeguards from performing duties other than his own. “This way we tried to stop homeguards doing personal work in the houses and offices of a section of police officials. But, unfortunately, we could not fully stop it,” said the minister.

Mukherjee said from last year, the government had started a 42-day training course for homeguards at the Central Training Institute in North Dinajpur. The homeguards are being trained in environmental laws, techniques of traffic control and how to perform law and order duties.

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