Employees during the day, volunteers after dusk

As many as 1,041 people, including 37 women, joined the Tamil Nadu Home Guards as volunteers after a passing out parade at the Armed Reserve parade ground in St. Thomas Mount on Friday evening. This is the first time in the history of the State that such a large contingent of volunteers has been absorbed.

With this induction, the strength of the Home Guards in the State has increased to more than 15,500. Police and senior Home Guard volunteers attributed the urge to volunteer to a basic urge to serve society, help the police in maintaining law and order and in preventing crime.

“I found out about the Home Guards only after my marriage. I hope to contribute my bit towards crime prevention and traffic regulation,” said Kalaivani Prabu. Having studied until class XII, Kalaivani married D. Prabu, eight months ago. The couple attended the 30-day training period together and took part in the passing out parade simultaneously. According to the couple, the training was not strenuous, but was an eye-opener.

Police said many young men, who were unable to join the police force volunteered here. The Home Guards accompany police patrol teams on their night rounds, but wind up at 3 a.m. so they can rest before going to their regular jobs in the day. Senior volunteers said several hundred Home Guards were Central and State government employees and many were well-qualified individuals working in leading companies. Their schedule was so structured that it did not affect their work or personal lives, they said.

Addressing the new volunteers, K. Muthukaruppan, Additional Director General of Police and Additional Commandant General, TN Home Guards, said the ‘call out rate’ given to Home Guards had been increased from Rs. 65 to Rs. 150 last year. The call out rate is the money given to Home Guards when they report for duty or attend parades.

The strength of Home Guards in Chennai – 3,000 – matches that of the Armed Reserve Police. Their services can now potentially be used more extensively, to gather intelligence to prevent crimes for instance, or to serve court summons to people, Mr. Muthukaruppan said.

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