The Jammu and Kashmir police is facing a major manpower shortage due to delayed recruitment of constables and frontline officers.
Dilbag Singh, the Director General of J&K police, has voiced his concern over the impact of manpower shortage in the police department as no recruitment has been done over the past four years.
According to Mr Singh, more than 4,000 posts of police constables are vacant, and J&K Services Selection Board (JKSSB), the agency that’s entrusted to conduct recruitment exams, has failed to undertake the process.
“We have more than 4,000 vacancies. The deficiency in ranks is being felt across the police department,” said Mr Singh
This is the first time the J&K police chief has publicly expressed his dismay over the failure of the Union Territory administration in the recruitment of police personnel and its impact on the force.
An 83,000-strong force, J&K police is one of the largest police departments in the country which is equipped with state-of-the-art weaponry and paraphernalia to deal with Pakistan-backed terrorism and maintain law and order in the sensitive border region.
After J&K state was stripped of its statehood and special status in 2019, as part of administrative changes, recruitment in the police department was also taken away from the police department and handed over to the Jammu and Kashmir Services Selection Board (JKSSB).
In 2022, the board released the selection list of 1,200 police sub-inspectors – the first major recruitment under the Union Territory administration.
The selection list, however, had a series of discrepancies and was marred by allegations of corruption. It led to massive protests by job aspirants across J&K and forced the UT administration to order an inquiry. According to a CBI investigation, there was massive corruption and malpractice in the recruitment process, and exam papers for police sub-inspector posts were sold for Rs 20 to 30 lakh.
After scrapping the recruitment list, J&K Lt Governor Manoj Sinha announced fresh exams. He promised a transparent and fair recruitment process.
But soon after fresh exams were announced, the government’s decision to award contracts to a tainted and blacklisted agency to hold exams delivered another blow to thousands of job aspirants and the fairness of the recruitment process.
“Earlier, police would make recruitments through its own process. A new experiment was done and the process was handed over to some other department. Since then, no recruitment in police is taking place,” said Mr Singh.
So far, four selection lists released by the government’s recruitment agency have been scrapped. They are being investigated by the CBI and several people involved have been arrested.