Call of duty: Polls, VIPs, Yatras stretch SRPF personnel

The continuous deployment of State Reserve Police Force and its use like regular policemen seems to be taking a toll of their lives. The personnel trained for combating emergencies have been working non-stop for last one year, performing routine police functions like covering various government events including Sadbhavana Mission and Swami Vivekanand Yatra and the Assembly elections.

One election duty, 11 SRPF personnel died when the driver suffered a heart attack in Dahod. In another incident, 20 personnel were injured in a similar accident when their bus fell into a ditch in Junagadh after the driver had a heart attack.

The international cricket matches and the upcoming three-day Vibrant Gujarat Summit only add to its long list of jobs which are not necessarily a part of its preamble.

A security force of around 3,000 to 4,000 men will guard the main venue of of the Summit at Mahatma Mandir and the Exhibition Centre at the Helipad Ground in Gandhinagar.

Seven companies of SRPF have been deployed for peripheral security to perform the most cumbersome job, doing access control and conduct frisking-check every visitor and vehicle before letting them go inside. There are also 1,800 local policemen for security inside the venues.

As many as 100 commandos selected from CHETAK commando force and 10 Quick Response Teams will patrol around the venue to keep an eagle eye on every movement. As many as 31 senior IPS officers have been given the charge to remain vigilant to secure the Summit.

Trained in various arms, SRPF is raised to provide security in civil unrest, terrorism, natural disasters and public events. However in Gujarat, the force has ended up covering cricket matches, elections and even festivals.

In comparison to Gujarat, the armed unit in Bihar (Bihar Military Police) is currently dealing with Maoist insurgency while the Rajasthan Armed Constabulary who are deployed in dense forest areas to keep check on illegal mining, poaching and other serious issues besides their other duties.

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