Chandigarh — The Punjab Government proposes to form ‘“‘strike forces” in the state police of about one platoon each at every subdivision and of a company each at every district headquarter apart from a company in each battalion of the Punjab Armed Police to deal with the law and order situation in the state.

The “‘strike forces”’ will form the district armed reserve and have been suggested to counter any surprise attacks by the extremists within the subdivisions without waiting for help from higher quarters. The proposal is on the basis of the recommendations of the R. V. Subramanian Committee which submitted a report on the working of the state police a few months ago.

The committee also proposed to arm the Punjab Armed Police (PAP) on the lines of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) though it has suggested that the number of LMGs in the case of PAP should be reduced to one per company. The aim reportedly is to make the PAP sufficiently equipped to lessen the requirement of the paramilitary forces, which are a drain on the state finances.

The committee also prescribed a detailed list of superior weaponry to replace the antigated 303 rifles in use with state police. The committee recommended a total of 1360 self-loading rifles (SLRs) of 7.62 calibre out of which 800 were for the districts and subdivision and 560 for the PAP battalions.

Similarly a total of 1340 sten carbine SAP machine pistols have been proposed out of which 1200 were for districts and subdivision and 140 for the PAP. The police still have sten carbines but these are mostly used for security to VIPs.

A total of 64 LMGs of the 7.62 calibre have also been suggested. Of these 12 will be in the district headquarters, 45 in the subdivision and seven for the PAP. The Punjab Police is reported to be having a few LMGs but these were not being put to use regularly.

The committee opined that in order to be effective, the police force must have better weapons than those whom they were trying to subdue. In Punjab the reverse was true and whiles the Punjab Police was equipped with 303 rifles and a few LMGs, while the extremists had a plethora of weapons, including AK45 rifles. LMGs, carbines and even a few rocket launchers.

The committee also recommended that training ammunition should be doubled for crash training programs and the ammunition could be got from the Army whenever the need arose.

The arms recommended for the “strike forces” are. A mix of SLRs. stens and machine pistols for the NCOs and officers. For the district police a mix of close support in 60:40 ratios. The committee even spelled out that for organizing ambushes, one LMG at each subdivision headquarters and two at district headquarters should be provided.

The committee had dealt with issues of manpower, equipment, morale, communications and transport of the force in great detail. So far most of the new additions in the officer cadre of the Punjab Police are also on the basis of the report of the committee.

More senior officers from outside the state were being inducted into the state police. Of the six IGs, in the Punjab Police (including one in the Home Guards) two have been posted from outside the state cadre. Of the numerous DIG, while three have already joined, at least one more is expected to join soon from outside the state.

Article extracted from this publication >>  February 22, 1985