There is growing discontent among the Parliament security personnel over the new uniforms that have been introduced in this session with several officers using creative methods to resist wearing the thick canvass ensemble while many others have outrightly refused to wear it, after donning it for a couple of days.
There are over 500-odd personnel employed with the security wing of the Parliament of the rank of sub-inspector and above. Speaking on condition of anonymity, many of the officers relayed their difficulties with the new uniform.
The staff in the normal course get uniform allowance ranging from ₹13,000 to ₹20,000 per annum depending upon their grade and entitlement. They use this money to purchase their own uniform as per the sanctioned design. This money is credited in April, but this year, the money was withheld.
“We were told that instead of the allowance, we will be given new uniforms. The uniforms haven’t been stitched to our measurements. We have to wear the sizes that are available. Some of us got the uniform but didn’t get the boots,” one of the officers explained.
This was flagged on Wednesday morning by Congress Whip in the Lok Sabha Manickam Tagore. In a post on X (formerly Twitter), he said, “Not just reducing the security personnel to showpieces to please the ruler, this government has also cut 25,000 from each of the 600 Parliament security staff for this uniform. Why should our security personnel suffer for the Rule’s fancy dress competition.”
Lack of breathability
The unanimous complaint is the lack of breathability of the fabric. “This is the same fabric that once upon a time, we used to stitch luggage or vehicle covers with. It is thick and heavy. In Delhi’s hot and humid climate, we end up profusely sweating and they are not fit for the long hours we have to stand under the sun. I wore it on Monday but I refuse to wear it now. I was asked to give a written explanation but since I am not alone in abandoning it, my seniors couldn’t press for it,” another officer, posted at the main gate of the old Parliament building, said. Several others are refusing to wear it, pointing out that it doesn’t fit them.
The uniform is similar to the combat outfit worn by the armed forces, and many pointed out the very reason why the Parliament has its own security staff instead of deploying the Delhi police or Central armed police personnel exclusively for the job. The Parliament security was constituted in pre-Independence India, after Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt dropped bombs in the central legislative Assembly in April 1929. Then President of the Assembly, Vithalbhai Patel, to assert the sole ownership over the precincts, refused to allow the Delhi police to take charge and instituted a separate security wing. “This uniform is what usually armed forces wear during combat. In fact, it eerily looks like the uniform worn by Pakistani Rangers,” another officer added.