The government has decided to accord the much awaited status of 'martyr' to jawans and officers of paramilitary and police forces, who have been killed in the line of duty.
There is no official notification or order till date in the country which defines or states that these men and women are martyrs or 'shaheed'.
Union Minister of State for Home R P N Singh, who officiated at the Valour day ceremony of the Central Reserve Police Force in New Delhi on Tuesday, said his ministry is working on the issue.
Singh said the government has decided to accord the status of 'martyr' to central paramilitary and police forces, but is awaiting the response of state governments on the decision to grant the status to state police forces.
"We have already written to the states regarding the matter (to elicit their response on the issue of granting the 'martyr' status to state police forces)," Singh told PTI on the sidelines of the event.
Paramilitary and central police forces have time and again made representations in this regard to the Home Ministry saying this honour for the troops, who render a variety of security duties from tackling Naxalites to manning Indian borders, will not only act as a morale booster but will also enhance their self-respect.
The central police forces, at present, are only authorised to issue pension related benefits to the killed personnel's family and receive gallantry and police medals.
The long pending demand of these about 9-lakh strong forces like CRPF, BSF, ITBP, SSB, CISF and RPF is expected to be met soon, after Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde last year got government orders issued for categorising retired personnel from these forces as 'ex-central armed police forces personnel' on the lines of the three Armed forces.
According to official data, the last time a meeting was held on this issue was in 2011 but no consensus had emerged.
"The matter (for giving status of martyr to paramilitary personnel) was considered by the Committee of Secretaries on September 14, 2011 but there was no consensus on the issue," the then MoS (Home) Jitendra Singh had told Parliament in a written reply on May 8 last year.
Singh's statement had further stated that "Shaheed/martyr is not defined anywhere and presently no order/notification declaring Central Armed Police Force personnel who are killed at the border while discharging their duty in any encounter with the terrorists declaring them as shaheeds/martyrs.
"However, a demand was received from CAPFs for giving status of martyr to CAPF personnel killed in terrorists encounters or in action," Singh stated in his reply.
The central forces, along with state police forces and their special operations units, are deployed for a variety of internal security duties like anti-Naxal operations or counter-insurgency tasks at country's borders and as well as in the interiors.
During the CRPF event, the Minister of State for Home gave gallantry medals to a number of officers and jawans of the force for displaying outstanding bravery and taking on Naxalites and militants in various parts of the country.