Indian paramilitary forces are guarding the country from external threats and internal turmoil with aplomb but they were unsuccessful in guarding themselves - at least 200 troopers have lost their battle against HIV/AIDS.
According to data available with the Ministry of Home Affairs, 200 such paramilitary personnel have succumbed to the disease since 2004, including 27 this year.
Of the total number of deaths, 75 personnel died in 2004, 58 in 2005, 40 in 2006 and 27 in the last seven months of 2007.
While Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has lost 72 of its men during this period, 56 persons from the Border Security Force (BSF) have lost their lives due to HIV/AIDS.
Similarly Assam Rifles (AR) has lost 40 of its fighters and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has lost 25 of its employees.
Minister of State for Home Affairs Sriprakash Jaiswal informed Parliament on Tuesday that a total of 1,363 paramilitary forces are currently suffering from AIDS.
Of the total number of affected personnel, CRPF has 521 of its men in the patients' list followed by 458 employees of AR.
Among others, BSF has reported 239 HIV/AIDS cases, CISF 105, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) 25, National Security Guard (NSG) six and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) nine cases.
Speaking about the arrangements to fight the health menace, Jaiswal said: "CRPF has trained 158 master trainers with the help of an NGO, Resource Centre for Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS at Bhopal, Guwahati, Avadi and Hyderabad group centres."