The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which is celebrating its 50th year, has been excluded from the marching slots for the 70th Republic Day parade in New Delhi, scheduled to be held on this Saturday.
As per an NDTV report, Home Ministry sources have revealed that its defence counterpart denied CISF's participation for the march, as there were only three slots available for the paramilitary forces.
Also, CISF Director General Rajesh Ranjan's request for his forces' participation in the Rajpath parade was too late, as per sources.
The Home Ministry reportedly raised the issue with the MoD. "As the defence ministry is the nodal agency to conduct (the Republic Day celebrations), we had requested it to allow four paramilitary contingents to participate this year, but they did not agree," said a senior official.
Officials also added that the defence ministry took a month to reply, giving the MHA no time to ask another participating contingent to opt out to accommodate CISF. "Paramilitary and auxiliary forces are one category and in the rotation, it was our chance, but the defence ministry did not give us permission," said CISF spokesperson Hemender Singh.
Every year, three paramilitary foot contingents participate in the parade on a rotation basis.
The CISF had participated last in 2017, where it was named the best marching contingent. CISF is the only paramilitary force which earns revenue for the government by providing security at airports, government offices, seaports, nuclear installations, ISRO launch pad, heritage monuments, power plants and even sensitive private installations for a fee.
"The defence ministry could have made an exception this time. We wrote to them as soon as the list was out, but they took almost a month to reply and by then it was too late," said a senior home ministry official.
However, the Defence Ministry blamed the CISF on the whole issue. "They were aware that this is their golden jubilee year; they should have acted in time," said an officer.
The paramilitary forces participating in this year's Republic Day march are the Delhi Police, Assam Rifles and Rapid Action Force (RAF). In all, 17 contingents are participating in the parade, which includes the Army, Navy, Air Force, retired personnel apart from the para forces. The Border Security Force's camel contingent, camel-mounted band and an all-women group will march too.