Home Guard (India)

Country: India
Details of Formation: The group was established on 6 December 1946 and reorganized in 1962 when the states were advised by the centre to combine their voluntary organisations into a single force, the Home Guards.
Details of Termination: Still active.
Purpose: The group has a variety of purposes, functioning as an auxiliary to the official police force. It is intended to protect the population from internal threats by maintaining security and preventing or mitigating the outbreak of violence in sensitive situations, provide emergency assistance, defend the country (against external threats), protect its borders, maintain essential services, and assist with welfare. Specialised units support corresponding branches of the official state forces.
Organisation: The group was initially controlled by Mararji Desai and is under the broader control of the Ministry of Home Affairs. As an assistant force to the police, these two are closely linked. Sources state that it is unclear whether the group is part of the regular forces. The government provides financial assistance.
Weapons and Training: According to new sources, training is provided by the police. In addition to basic training, those who have been members for three years are trained in a range of police duties. It is reported that the government arms members with rifles and guns.
Size: --
Reason for Membership: --
Treatment of Civilians: The group provides security and emergency relief to the population. Members are also reported to plunder and intimidate citizens. In one instance, a member was accused of rape, and in another a group of members raped and burnt a woman.
Other Information: Every Indian citizen between age 18 and 50 is eligible to become a member, therefore there is a wide range of membership, including all kinds of professions (e.g. lawyers, doctors, students, workers). Normally membership lasts three to five years. Based on the information about the group’s tasks (e.g. supporting the police and help the communities in emergency situations), local membership is inferred. There were some disagreements with the government when the group wanted to form a union.
References: Information was taken from news sources listed in the PGMD.

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