Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced here on Wednesday that the State would deploy “village police” in every village of the State’s Maoist-affected Jangalmahal region.
“In every village in Jangalmahal we will deploy village police…..The previous government felt that there was no need to appoint them, but we have recognised the need for them and the appointment process started today,” Ms. Banerjee said at the Investiture Ceremony of the West Bengal Police. Emphasising the need for the modernisation of the police force, Ms. Banerjee also proposed that police personnel over the age of 50 years could apply for retirement in favour of a job being given to a family member.
“I had introduced a similar scheme for gangmen and safety-staff of the Railways when I was the Minister for Railways. Before actually superannuating, some may feel unwell and want that their sons or daughters take over from them. So I had allowed people over 50 years to apply for this scheme; we may consider it for the police as well,” she said. Ms. Banerjee also commented on an issue that has drawn severe criticism of her government – the frequent attacks on women.
“I do not want that even a single woman be attacked. But these days every single FIR is accepted and immediate action is taken in every single case,” she said claiming that West Bengal “is now number one” among the States in registering cases of attacks on women.
The Chief Minister’s claims are however belied by some of the most sensational allegations of rape that have attracted widespread criticism of her government including the alleged rape of a 37-year-old woman in a moving vehicle in the Park Street area of the city.
The incident had created a sensation because the victim claimed that her complaint was initially not accepted by the police and then not acted upon.
Admitting that the two recent incidents of police firing at Loba village in Birbhum district and Tehatta in Nadia district were condemnable, Ms. Banerjee said that she believed that the police must be commended for the good work done by them as well as criticised for their shortcomings.