Calling police personnel the "silent sentinels" of the nation and noting the difficult conditions under which they work, Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday assured that the Centre was committed to their holistic welfare over a specific time period.
Presiding over a Police Commemoration Day function here, Shah said the forces in India are "severely understaffed", with an actual strength of 144 police personnel per one lakh population as opposed to the sanctioned strength of 222.
"Because of this shortage of manpower, most policemen work long hours and cannot take weekly leaves," he said.
Acknowledging the difficult environment under which the police force works, Shah said: "The Modi government is committed to the holistic welfare of police personnel - from residence and work environment to health and education. And these facilities would be provided them over a specific time period."
The Home Minister said police personnel have played a quiet yet "seminal role" in the nation's development from the guarding of borders to traffic management and fighting the menace of illicit drugs to battling terrorism.
He noted that the fruits of development can reach the last mile only when law and order are stable, and peace prevails, and police have an incredibly important role in ensuring that it does.
Shah said 34,844 police personnel have laid down their lives in the line of duty till now. He noted that 292 names were being added to the list of martyrs on Monday. Shah also paid homage to the police personnel martyred in the line of duty at the National Police Memorial.
Reminding people of the origin of the Police Commemoration Day, the Minister referred to the Battle of Hot Springs and the valour of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) men martyred in it. .
"It was on this very day in 1959 that the CRPF scripted a saga of valour and sacrifice in the snow-laden, inaccessible, inhospitable terrain of Hot Springs in Ladakh. A patrol party of 20 personnel of CRPF and Intelligence Bureau had gone to search for a missing reconnaissance party when it was ambushed by China's People's Liberation Army troops. In spite of the sudden attack and disadvantageous tactical position, they fought valiantly against the Chinese army personnel, who were in large numbers and heavily armed. Ten CRPF men were martyred defending the country in this battle.
"Since then, Police Commemoration Day is observed on October 21 every year to honour the loyalty and supreme sacrifice of police personnel for the nation," Shah said.
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