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Kusum Lata Mittal Report


C H A P T E R - 1 0
D E L H I A R M E D P O L I C E

10.1. The Delhi Armed Police consists of ten Battalions under the overall charge of an Additional Commissioner of Police. However, a scrutiny of the functioning of the Delhi Armed Police has revealed a shocking state of affairs . The Delhi Armed Police apparently does not function on the pattern of traditional Para-military forces like the CRPF and BSF. Theoretically each Battalion having 8/9 Companies is under the charge of a Commandant of the rank of DCP with three Assistant Commissioners of Police as Supervisory officers and Inspectors as Company Commanders. However, in proactive the deployment of force is not sent company or platoon battalion-wise in Delhi but by numbers i.e. so many Sis, Head Constables and Constables etc. Besides, there is inter-changeability at all levels between the DAP, and the normal Delhi Police at the Police Stations. This has resulted in DAP being utilized in the same manner as reserve lines in other States and has seriously affected the efficiency and utility of the DAP. Another factor which came to light was the fact that none of the Battalion Commandants or Assistant Commissioners of Police commanded the force when it was sent on duty during the riots. Hence the supervisory staff did not go out at all with the force which is indeed unfortunate as will be discussed subsequently.

10.2. Immediately after the riots, DCP(Vigilance) Shri N.S. Rana, was ordered to look into the mobilization of the DAP during the riots. He submitted a report dated 2.3.1985 to Addl. C.P.(CID) which also highlights the short-comings in the functioning of the DAP. From the statistics which were collected by DCP(Vigilance) the picture which emerges is that the posted strength of all the 10 Battalions as on 31.10.1984 was as follows:

DCP ACP INSPECTORS SI's. H/Cs. Constables

10 30 81 317 1726 7283

Against this posted strength, according to the D.D. entries of the DAP, only the following force was actually sent/dispatched on various dates for law and order duties:-

DATE INSPECTORS S.I.s H/Cs. Constables

31.10.84 7 33 158 1,100

1.11.84 13 58 292 2,059

2.11.84 4 21 95 805

3.11.84 6 51 180 1,409

4.11.84 2 11 87 663

The above figures clearly show that against the posted strength, a miserably small amount of force was sent on duty on any one day. For instance against 81 Inspectors, the maximum number sent on any day is 13. Against the 317 Sis, the maximum number sent on any day is 58. Against 1726 Head Constables, the maximum number sent on any day was 292. Similarly, against 7,283 Constables, the maximum sent on any day was 2,059. Indeed, as ad commentary on the functioning of the DAP in a crisis situation.

10.3. A further scrutiny of the figures collected by the DCP(Vig.) shows that the number of persons on ‘essential duties’ was extremely high as would be clear from the figures given below :-

DATE INSPECTORS Sis H/Cs. Constables

30.10.84 30 177 826 2,961

31.10.84 22 124 684 2,587

1.11.84 22 144 560 2,575

2.11.84 21 129 652 2,549

3.11.84 21 129 639 2,381

4.11.84 21 129 642 2,416

The so-called ‘essential duties’ performed in the Battalion thus account for more than 30 per cent of the total strength. Adding to these figures the number of men on leave or on temporary attachment etc., we find that on an average less than 40 per cent of the force was available for duty, e.g. on 31.10.84, Inspector 38, Sis 117, HCs 726 and Constables 3433 only were available for duty. It, therefore, needs serious consideration whether there is any utility in retaining a force where less than 40% is available for active duty even in a crisis situation of the kind that Delhi was faced with in November 1984 riots and even that was not fully utilized as shown in para 2 above.

10.4. Extract of the chart prepared by DCP(Vig) as well as the actual deployment according to the general diaries of the DAP from 31st October, 1984 to 4th November, 1984 are given in the Annexure. These figures reveal a pathetic state of affairs. Take for instance one small example. The 8th Battalion had on the 31st October, 1984, 28 Sis, 158 Head Constables and 696 Constables out of which 13 SIs, 76 Head constables and 417 Constables were on essential duties. Five Sis, 31 Head Constables and 83 Constables were on leave etc. One SI, 20 Head Constables and 41 Constables were on some temporary attachment. Therefore, the battalion as on 31.10.84 was left with 9 Sis, 31 Head Constables and 155 Constables. The utility of Government maintaining such a Battalion needs to be seriously considered.

10.5. The above situation has also been highlighted in the note of DCP(Vig) from the Special Enquiry Cell No. XXV 101/85 dated 2.3.85 which is worth reproducing :

“ As desired, the records of the DAP have been thoroughly examined to find out the actual position of deployment of force by the various DAP Bns. , from 30.10.84 to 4.11.84 inclusive.

The Coy. Havaldar Majora (CHMS) of all the 10 DAP Bns. Were called to Vigilance Office , along with their Coy daily duty rosters. On the basis of this record, we were able to find out :-

(a) The total strength mobilized by the Coy and sent for law and order duties; and

(b) The total strength which remained available with the Coy from day-to-day as standby /stand to/ surplus.

This detailed record may kindly be seen in the linked file which is placed below.

“ On the basis of the Coy-wise daily deployment charts, we have prepared the Bn-wise data at flag ‘A’. This shows the day-to-day total mobilization of each Bn., the total surplus remaining in the Bn and the total essential duties carried out by the Bn . This shows considerable variation from day-to-day in the different units. A large amount of force in each Battalion remains unaccounted for and it appears that the routine pickets had remained functioning thorough out and were not disbanded to mobilize extra force at any time. It is suggested that the respective DCPs of DAP Bns may be asked to clarify the position in detail as their posted strength in each BN. Remains unaccounted for from day-to-day even after accepting in to their statements of so-called essential duties in the Bn. And even after taking into account the surplus force figures submitted by the CHMS and BHMS. For example, on 2.11.84 , 152 Constables were sent for deployment by the 1st Bn. Another 97 Constables remained surplus within the Bn. Premises and another 326 were supposedly on ‘essential duties’ within the Bn. Premises. This gives a total of 575 Constables, whereas there are 846 Constables drawing pay from the 1st Bn. Similarly, in the5th Bn on 1.11.84, 179 Constables were sent for law and order duties, 21 remained stand by or surplus within the Bn. And 217 remained on ‘essential duties’ within the Bn. Giving a total of 417, whereas the posted strength of Constables in this Bn. Is689. It is doubtful if even after subtracting any static or picket duties from this figure the strength could be accounted for properly.

“ The overall surpluses which remained present within the DAP complex during these fixed days in the form of stand by or stand to etc. May be seen at Flag ‘B’. This shows that between 574 and 1080 Constables remained undeployed in the DAP daily from 31.10.84 to 4.11.84.

“ This exercise has also brought out the astonishing fact that in normal times i.e. on 30.10.84, 30 Inspectors, 177 Sis/ASIs, 826 HCs and 2956 Constables of DAP Bns remained busy with the so-called essential duties of their Bns, as many as 438Constables out of the total posted strength of 696 Constables is found to be engaged in ‘essential duties’ of the Bn. And therefore, not available for day-to-day deployment.

“ Perhaps a complete overhaul of the system of deployment of DAP is called for here after obtaining the comments of the concerned DCPs.”

10.6. Shri O.P. Mehra, Deputy Commissioner of Police, 1st Bn. DAP vide his letter No. 2684/Gen. 1st Bn. Dated 16,3,85 addressed to the Addl. Commissioner of Police (CID), on the other hand, has given a different picture which is hard to believe. According to him, the DAP was supplying as much as was requisitioned by the PHQ PCR the previous evening. According to him, the following staff was deployed for law and order duties during the riots:-

DATE INSPECTORS Sis H/Cs Constables

31.10.84 24 73 529 3,111

1.11.84 33 109 658 4,080

2.11.84 31 105 613 3,846

3.11.84 35 111 698 4,251

4.11.84 39 110 694 4,277

These figures are not supported by the DD entries as indicated in para 2 above. DD entries are comparatively more authentic, it is, therefore, not possible to accept the version of Shri Mehra since it is not borne out by facts.

10.7. Even if some fixed pickets which may not have been disbanded and a few Sikh personnel who were not sent on active duty, are taken into account, the discrepancy in the force stated to be mobilized and the one actually deployed for law and order duties during the riots, cannot be reconciled. Therefore, a thorough scrutiny needs to be done as to why against the posted strength so few hands were available and why even those were not sent on duty.

10.8. Another fact which is very obvious but at the same time surprising is that the supervisory officers did not accompany the force. The statements given by the various Assistant Commissioners of Police, DAP show that most of them were at the Bn Hqrs. Or at their residences and were not utilized at all. A study of the reports sent by the various Battalions showing movement of DCPs and ACPs shows that Mrs. Vimla Mehra, DCP 4th Bn was on duty at Teen Murti House on 1st and 2nd November, 1984 and on route duty on 3rd November. Shri A.S.Khan DCP , 8th Bn was also on route duty on 3rd November, 1984. Similarly, only 3 ACPs were put on any kind of duty. Thus out of 10 DCPs and 30 ACPs, only 2 DCPs and 3 ACPs were utilized and rest stayed in the DAP office or in their houses doing nothing. This brings to mind the observations of the National Police Commission reproduced below:-

“ 47.7. We have been told of several instances where police forces were deployed without any briefing whatsoever. Even the senior officers deployed with the force were inadequately briefed, with the result that they could not act decisively in a moment of crisis. Moreover, in some cases of recent riots the armed police detailed to supplement the resources of the district police was collected at very short notice from different units, wherever they could be made available from. Such a body of men not under the command of their own officers can hardly be expected to operate in a disciplined and concerted manner. We strongly deprecate such a practice and recommend that the armed police should move only in proper formation, along with full complement of their officers.”

(SIXTH REPORT OF THE NATIONAL POLICE, GOVERNMENT OF INDIA, MARCH 1981)

10.9. Lack of leadership, proper utilization and coordination, was perhaps the reason why the force being deputed from the DAP Headquarters was either not reporting to the district concerned or was reporting with delay. There are quite a few instances where the force sent out on duty came back to Lines allegedly due to obstruction by mobs. It is indeed pathetic that units of armed police sent out on law and order duty came back to the Lines and do not reach their destination. Besides cowardice, an armed force surrendering to the wishes of the unruly mobs shows lack of discipline and unwillingness to act. Had the supervisory officers gone along with their men such a situation might not have occurred. Considerable delay in the actual dispatch of the force has also come to notice and there are a number of messages from various districts in the wireless logs which indicate that force said to have been dispatched had not reached the districts. A thorough investigation as to what actually transpired, and, why force was not sent in time, needs to be undertaken so as to avoid the same mistakes and lapses in future.

10.10. On the one hand DAP was not providing adequate force to the districts, on the other hand instances have come to notice where the force has remained confined in the control rooms of the districts and was not properly utilized. This appears to be more prominent in West and East Districts. In the West District, for instance, two companies reported at district control at 0700 hrs. on 1.11.84. There is, however, no indication of how they were deployed and they apparently remained in the control room only. Similarly, on subsequent days this practice continued. In the East District also, one company and two platoons were received on 1st November, 1984 at 6.00 AM and 1242 hrs. Again, two platoons and one section were received on 2nd November, 1984 at 10.25 hrs. How they were distributed among the police stations is not quite clear. Thus, on the one hand, there was complaint of shortage of staff and , on the other hand, there was no proper utilization. Evidently, the will either to deploy or to utilize the force properly was completely lacking. The Commissioner of Police failed to see that the existing staff was not being deployed or utilized properly.

RECOMMENDATIONS

10.11. Taking an overall view, since the Delhi Armed Police on its own has no independent role to play and is deputed to the various districts in aid of the civil police, it is not proposed to make any recommendation against the officers concerned. However, the following observations are made for the consideration of the Delhi Administration:-

(a) The amount of force available for duty out of the total posted manpower of DAP was extremely small. The purpose of having reserve Battalions is to have a standing back-up force available for emergent duties. If less than 40 per cent of the force of any battalion is available for duty and the bulk of it is utilized for maintaining itself, there is no justification for having it in the present form. ---------- having it in the present form, district reserves should be formed with each district under the control of the concerned Deputy Commissioner of Police.

(b) In case the present form of the Armed Battalions is to be maintained, the unit should be formed on the pattern of Para-military forces like CRPF or BSF and given proper training. They should be deli ked from Delhi Police and should not be interchangeable, specially at the lower levels, with the district police. This will ensure that they do not form local links and function in a professional manner. The exact operational strength of the force should be laid down so as to avoid large scale wastage of manpower on so-called ‘essential duties’.

(c) The practice of deputing force by numbers should cease and the force should be sent with the full complement of supervisory officers to command their men. The purpose of having the supervisory officers is that the Armed Police should function and operate in a disciplined and concerted manner. If this is done the men will have a sense of belonging to a force and will look up to their officers for guidance and we might not have the situations where the force returns to the unit instead of reaching its destination for duty Senior Officers are provided so that they can lead their men, otherwise there is no sense in having the senior officers with each battalion. Hardly any DCP was sent on duty during the riots and the senior officers wasted their time at the DAP Headquarters while Delhi was burning. This was scandalous and must be avoided in future.

(d) In case it is felt that due to large scale interchangeability in the past it is difficult now to discipline the lower cadres, the present staff of the DAP from Inspector downwards should be merged with the Delhi Police and the Central Government may consider raising fresh Central Battalions which are trained in a professional manner right from the beginning. These will not have a past history of local influences which are difficult to over come. This will also ensure that in Delhi or elsewhere this Central Police can be sent in times of crisis and is not subjected to pressures at the local level

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