Suggestive Measures for IR Battalions and Police in Nagaland

Below are some suggestions in regard to NAP (IR) battalions in Nagaland and in the interest of all concerned and also to elicit the opinion of the general public to the questions pertaining to NAP (IR) Battalions in Nagaland as invited by the Honourable Home Minister in the newspapers for an open debate and comments. The undersigned would humbly want the policy makers to critically analyze the following points to create a more Fair, Professional and Cohesive Nagaland Police, which will be a pride for the Nagas in general and the police department in particular.

1.    The IRB as a nomenclature should be changed into “Naga Rifles” and not as NAP (IR) battalions, thus 9th IRB will become 1st Bn Naga Rifles and Xth IRB will be called 2nd Bn Naga Rifles and so on. This is because IRB’s battalions whether in Chhattisgarh or in Nagaland are not functioning or deployed as normal armed police battalions but as Paramilitary battalions. The renaming also will enhance the confidence level while dealing with the Assam Rifles and Army etc psychologically. There is a funny story regarding the usage of the name “NAP (IR)” – once some IR Jawans reportedly asked a senior officer in a durbar as to why their pay and welfare was the same with the NAP Jawans when their (IRB) duties are twice and more than that of other NAP Jawans. The Officer replied to them that they are not any different to other NAP Jawans as their very name includes the word “NAP” so they should not get ideas that they (IR) are different from the NAP Jawans. Then some IR Jawans raised a question – If they (IRB) are same as their NAP brothers then they should not be used as frequently and always for dangerous duties. Fast the reply came from the senior Officer – you are NAP but also there is the word “IR” (India Reserve) in your nomenclature. Then some Jawans in the last row in a normally solemn Durbar shouted – Sir, why doesn’t the government change the word IR into RI and called them NAP (RI) or RIB’s, which will be more befitting. RI means “Rigorous Imprisonment”.

2.    (i) There should be a separate Naga Rifles (IR) Officers Cadres (both Gazzetted-Asstt Comdts and JCOs – Inspt’s and Sub Inspt’s) intake through NPSC (the present NPS officers are recruited and trained for Civil Policing and normal Law and Order situations only). These Naga Rifles officers can be merged with the NPS/IPS etc in the level of Senior Commandants and Senior District Superintendents of Police. The Jawans of the IR battalions should be called “Rifle men” and not “Constables” because their nature of duties are that of Riflemen than police constables. 

(ii) The present system of transfer of personnel from the NAPs are not fair to them as these personnel are not direct IRB cadres and as such are not under the so-called special oath to serve anywhere in India unlike the direct IRB recruits, same is the case of NPS officers presently serving in the IRBs, it is another matter for a SNAP battalion like deployments.

(iii) If the present system of NPS officers manning the IRBs is to continue, then all the fresh NPS/IPS officers and those officers who had not served in IR battalions should by rule mandatory serve for a minimum of 3 (three) years in these Naga Rifles/IR Battalions and thereafter only should be made eligible for District or NAP postings. Such black and white posting criteria should be laid down to do away with the present discriminating posting policy, since we already seem to have a permanent holding in Chhattisgarh, next landing may be in J&K.

3.    Political appointments in police whether Constables, Havildars, ASIs, SIs, ABSIs, Inspectors and even undeserving Dy.S.P.s through NPSC should be checked by all concerned. These political appointees and undeserving Dy.S.P.s (afterwards respected S.P.s and Comdt.s) bring with them all kinds of politicizations, Nepotism, Sycophancy attitudes, Cowardice, One-upmanship and above all, introduce out and out corruption practices in the very department meant to check all the above societal ills. These people are the agents of further destabilization in our already going-to-dogs Naga society.

4.    The Police Officers training imparted at NEPA is quite outdated and inadequate even for modern policing and for Naga Rifles Battalions/IRB duties the NEPA training is embarrassingly not enough and hence ARMY attachment/training for minimum 6 (six) months (at present the Army attachment is 1 to 2 weeks) for the officers and ABSIs should be made compulsorily.

5.    There can be a separate Directorate with Director General of Naga Rifles (DGNR) for the IR Battalions (like the Jail, Home Guards, fire service, etc) for proper work distribution and accountability and thereby increase professionalism and of course better promotional avenue for all.

6.    All the officers (Asst. Comdt to Comdt level in the battalions) transferred for the first time to IR battalions should be made to undergo Army/Assam Rifles attachment for a month at least. This is needed, because most of the officers are so used to “Command without welfare or etiquettes” either towards junior officers or the Jawans. This Command and no Welfare or otherwise lack of camaraderie style of functioning may work in so called normal NAP battalions because the work may be tasking but certainly not so tense and dangerous like the IR battalions in Nagaland and deadly like in Chhattisgarh. There is a need to close down the gap in officer-to-officer and officer-to-Jawans relationships; this will go a long way in livening up the unit’s working environment like any serious paramilitary units.

7.    Its high time promotion system in Nagaland Police Officers Cadres should recognized merit and efficiency  of an officer because the present system of all-in-all Seniority only encourages “Corruption, Sycophancy, Laziness” and effectively curbs “Initiative and Hard Work” among the officers and men.

8.    For every promotion an officer should be made to pass a promotional examination which can be half written and half practical Case Assignments with case studies and attachments with other crime investigating bureaus/police setups/ or paramilitary setups, etc. If this is made compulsory in promotion in officer cadre then “Competent and Effective” police officers will not be a rare species as it is today in Nagaland. This will also give much needed confidence to the Nagaland Police Officers while dealing with serious situations and in joint functionings with other security forces or Administrative officers. It is strange how one year of basic training can see through all the next higher and higher promotional work capacities effectively till retirement and at the same time keep an officer up to date in the sensitive ever-changing law and order handling, crime fighting, intelligence gathering know-hows in a department like the police.

9.    The pay and perks and other welfare facilities for the officers and Jawans and families of the IR battalions should be at par with the central paramilitaries like Assam Rifles and BSFs. The very name IRB means “India Reserve Battalions” and in fact in Nagaland and Chhattisgarh, the Naga IRBs are busier and tense up due to constant deployments than other security forces. This fact is long taken for granted by all concerned.

10.    Like any active paramilitary units, the fighting and communication equipments, logistics and supports systems are the only lifeline when the going gets tough, therefore these should also be at par with the other abovementioned paramilitary formations.

11.    Lastly, to keep the Naga Rifles/IRB Jawans always young, high morale and fighting fit, the government can make 50% to 60% of recruitment in the NAP battalions through the existing IR Battalions and phase out the IR Jawans of above 35 to 40 years below the rank of Havildar rank and NGO/JCOs above 50 years or the Jawans those who have put in 15 years of service or are medically unfit for strenuous IRB duties from the IR battalions to NAP Battalions.

As stated above these suggestive measures are given for the general betterment of the Nagaland Police as a whole with no malice whatever intended towards no authority.

Charles Naga
Ex. Serviceman and a Concerned Citizen
Chumukedima, Dimapur