NEW DELHI: It’s almost impossible for a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawan to get a bride today. A voluminous memorandum to the Seventh Central Pay Commission from the CRPF—India’s premier paramilitary force deployed in the country’s crisis zones, including Maoist territories in 10 states and other trouble spots in the Northeast with nearly three lakh personnel—has informed the government that parents of most prospective brides reject marriage proposals from eligible CRPF bachelors because of inadequate compensation for hardship, poor living conditions and high-risk postings resulting in an unattractive service environment.
Apart from the enforced bachelorhood, the cup of woes of CRPF men is really brimming over. The CRPF has told the government that 2,956 jawans have died in the last five years from diseases, which literally means that more personnel are dying due to government apathy than to the enemy’s bullet. The unkindest cut of all is that any CRPF jawan, who is lying in hospital after suffering injuries from IED blasts or enemy attacks, is treated as “on leave without pay”, leaving his family to fend for themselves because it takes a long time to recover from serious injuries. In these circumstances, it’s no surprise that the relatives of any CRPF jawan killed on duty are denied jobs on compassionate grounds. Also, the dropout rate among the children of CRPF personnel is incredibly high. Jawans are resigning from the force at the rate of 10 a day.
CRISIS IN FAMILY
In the first candid admission since it was founded in 1939, CRPF has said “personnel have problems in finding suitable life partners for themselves and their children”. Moreover, children of the jawans are mostly deprived of adequate parental control, which has tragic consequences in many cases. “Understandably, very few parents prefer their sons and daughters to marry the wards of the force personnel.” To make matters worse, many jawans are facing marital discord due to prolonged separation from the family because of inadequate family accommodation. Inadequate compensation, poor working and living conditions have led to as many as 30,927 jawans quitting the force in the past eight years; which means on an average, 3,787 jawans resign every year—more than the strength of three field battalions. What is worse is the future of their children; the school dropout rate is so high that only 42 per cent go beyond the matriculation. “More than 85 per cent of the personnel are deployed at such places where they are not permitted to keep the families. A survey of the educational status of the wards of CRPF personnel has shown that only 27.48 per cent reach the intermediate level, 11.33 per cent are graduates and a mere 3.54 per cent of children are post-graduates,” the memorandum states.