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Union Ministry for Home Affairs

The Union Ministry for Home Affairs controls the nationwide Indian Police Service, most of the paramilitary forces, and the internal intelligence bureaus.

The Police are a civil authority subordinate to the Executive, represented in the Union Government by the Prime Minister and in the States by the Chief Minister, and their respective Councils of Ministers. Prominent among the Union police forces are the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). Each of these forces is headed by a Director/Director-General with the status of a three-star General in the Army. The CBI is controlled by the Department of Personnel of the Union Government headed by a Minister of State who reports to the Prime Minister. The other forces are controlled by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs headed by a Cabinet Minister.

The rapid growth of the internal intelligence bureaus and the increased use of paramilitary forces against separatist insurgencies and communal unrest have given the Home Ministry increasing day-to-day control over law and order operations. Centrally controlled paramilitary forces are deployed throughout India and have been responsible for significant human rights abuses in Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast. These abuses ultimately raised questions about the effectiveness of civilian oversight and the extent of the Government's willingness and ability to prosecute offenders vigorously. Army units are also deployed for internal security duty in Kashmir and the northeast, and generally show greater respect for human rights than the paramilitary forces, although they have also been responsible for some abuses.

The 25 state governments have primary responsibility for maintaining law and order. However, the central Government provides guidance and support through use of national paramilitary forces and in law has ultimate responsibility for protecting the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution.

The bulk of the Indian Police is comprised of forces in the States. Each State has its own force headed by a Director-General of Police (DGP) who is equivalent in rank to his counterpart in the Union Government forces. A number of Additional Directors-General or Inspectors-General of Police (IGP) who look after various portfolios, such as Personnel, Law & Order, Intelligence, Crime, Armed Police, Training, and Technical Services are located at the State Police Headquarters and report directly to the DGP. Major cities in a State are headed by a Commissioner of Police (CP) who, again, reports to the DGP. Areas outside these cities in a State are divided into Districts of varying size. Each district is headed by a Superintendent of Police (SP) and supervised by a Deputy Inspector-General (DIG) whose jurisdiction is called a Range, composed of a group of three or four districts.

The administration of Prisons in India is the sole responsibility of the States. All prisons are managed by State governments or by the Union Territory administration. The Central Government is largely concerned with policy formulation and planning services. In each State, the head of prison administration is an Inspector-General who is usually a police officer.

The Union Ministry for Home Affairs controls most of the paramilitary forces, the internal intelligence bureaus, and the nationwide police service; it provides training for senior police officers for the state-organized police forces. The armed forces are under civilian control. Security forces have committed significant human rights abuses, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir and in the northeastern states.

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Page last modified: 20-05-2012 18:59:19 ZULU