Raipur: The recent abduction and killing of nearly half a dozen assistant constables, recruited as auxiliary personnel from among local tribal youth, by Maoists in Bastar region, has worried Chhattisgarh Police no end.
"It is a great cause of concern (that assistant constables are being targeted) for us. Assistant constables are basically son of soil, they belong to this area so its natural that they will attend marriage function(s) or other family functions under family pressure.
"So whenever they go and attend such things in civil dress and without weapons, they are being targeted," Inspector General of Police, Bastar Range, S RP Kalluri told PTI.
In the past two-and-half months, six assistant constables have been abducted from separate places of Bastar, out of which five were killed while one of them was released after being threatened with dire consequences if he continued to serve in police.
On July 14, four assistant constables were kidnapped by Naxals and killed next day in Kutru area of Bijapur district.
Similarly, another assistant constable who was abducted by Naxals on September 28, was found dead in Frasegarh area of Bijapur.
However, an assistant constable who was abducted in Sukma district in August was released later.
Besides, Naxals have been issuing warnings to assistant constables at several places of Bastar for helping police.
Ruling out that such kind of incidents may deter local tribals from serving in the force, Kalluri cautioned that it would be better if they avoid attending family functions and follow necessary precautions while venturing into jungles.
"Not at all (such incidents will not deter local youths from joining forces)... It would be better if they are more cautious, such (family) functions can be avoided," the IG added.
In fact, Naxals had targeted auxiliary personnel in their attacks earlier also.
In the biggest-ever strike by Maoists on auxiliary
personnel in Chhattisgarh, at least 55 police personnel, including 39 SPOs (special police officers) were killed in March 2007 when more than 300 heavily armed rebels stormed Rani Bodli police outpost in Bijapur region.
Notably, assistant constables, recruited to assist the police in anti-naxal operations, have been playing a major role in fight against Naxal menace in Chhattisgarh, which has been at the epicentre of continued Naxal violence in the past a decade.
"The assistant constables have been of great help to the security forces in tackling naxalism as they are not only well equipped with the topography of the area being locals but also share a good relations with tribals," a senior state police officer said on the condition of anonymity.
Moreover, they also have better intelligence network and help in drawing crucial details about movement and strategy of ultras, he said.
Naxals frequently target them in a bid to scare away the local people from actively joining police department, he added.