Following the fund crunch, the Yogi Adityanath-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Uttar Pradesh has terminated services of 25,000 home guards ahead of the Hindu festival of Diwali.
“The decision to end 25,000 Home Guard services was taken on August 28 this year in a meeting chaired by Uttar Pradesh chief secretary (sic),” the order stated. The order has been issued by additional director general (ADG) B P Jogdand.
A home guard, on the condition of anonymity, claimed that the state has come under pressure after the Supreme Court (SC) order asking it to pay home guards on par with the police constables. The home guards would earlier get a daily allowance of about Rs 500, which was raised to Rs 672 following the SC order. This is said to have added to the UP Police's budgetary constraints. The decision to relieve the home guards has been taken in the wake of this development.
The home guards—who are set to lose their jobs—were mostly tasked with regulating the traffic across various districts and patrolling among other duties.
A home guard, who is currently posted in Saharanpur, told NewsClick, “After the Supreme Court's order, the state government had increased our honorarium from Rs 500 to Rs 672 in September. But only after a month, it became burdensome for the government. How will they now survive? What will happen to their families?”
In addition, the state government has reduced the number of working days from 25 to 15 for home guards. Out of about 1.18 lakh posts of home guards in the state, 19,000 are vacant and the future of the rest is also threatened because of the reduction in the working days.
Ramnath Gupta, a home guard posted in Kanpur, who had filed a petition in Allahabad High Court in 2015, seeking increase in the daily allowance, told NewsClick, “Our demand was that there should be equal pay for equal work. So, the payment to the constables and the home guards should be equal. After years of struggle, we managed to get a Supreme Court order to bring our pay on par with the police constables in July, this year.”
“However, despite the Supreme Court order, we received only Rs 672 per day when we should have received Rs 810 per day. The government is not following the court's order,” he said.
Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Home Guard Awaitnik Adhikari and Karmchari Union’s president, Mukesh Dwivedi, accused CM Yogi Adityanath of betraying them ahead of the festive season. “Due to this decision, thousands of families will be destroyed and at this age, they even can not go for any private job,” he said.
Ajay Kumar Tyagi, a home guard, who has lost his job, accused both state and the central governments of breaking the trust of the very people who brought them to power. “I have voted both Narendra Modi during Lok Sabha and Adityanath in Assembly elections for their promises of ‘achche din (good days)’, but I didn’t know they will make me lose my job. We are poor people and have nowhere to go. The government has broken peoples’ trust. I will commit suicide with family or will opt for self-immolation if the government does not take its decision back.”