SPOs emerge as Maoists` nemesis in Chhattisgarh
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Last Updated: Wednesday, May 19, 2010, 21:16
  
Raipur: They act as "eyes" of security forces in the hostile terrain of Chhattisgarh's Bastar region in the fight against Maoist rebels and are paying the price for being that.

The emergence of Special Police Officers (SPOs) -- the locals and tribal youth -- roped in to assist and guide the security forces in anti-Naxal operations in the dense forests of the state as the nemesis of the Maoists, has brought them into a violent conflict with the guerrillas.

Since the launch of Salwa Judum movement in 2005 in Naxal-hit Dantewada district, many former rebels broke from the Maoist ranks due to the violence they unleashed on the tribals and laid down their arms.

Their alienation from the Maoists saw these tribal youth come closer to the state which then trained and armed them to act as the "crucial eye" of the paramilitary forces fighting Naxalism, Inspector General R K Vij told PTI.

Since the SPOs, nearly 4,000 at present, were born out of indigenous resistance to Naxalism, they know the treacherous terrain and the devious methods adopted by the Maoists in their fight against the state, he said, adding it was precisely because of these qualities that they have come under deadly attacks.

These SPOs, besides serving as guides in thick forests, have also played a significant role over the last five years in getting several Maoist leaders arrested, thus fuelling animosity even further.

Because of their critical role in the anti-Naxal operations, not only the SPOs but also their families have become the target of bloody retribution, Vij said.

The local tribals and SPOs form the crucial cog in the state's fight against Naxal menace due to which their recruitment has gathered momentum. Their shortage, he said, is is affecting the paramilitary operations.

Vij said though the Naxalites had been perpetrating atrocities on local tribals for the last three decades even while claiming to fight for their rights, when they shut down village markets and damaged their temples, the Maoists began to be seen like threat to their culture.

The Ranibodli incident in 2007 when Naxals killed 55 people, including 39 SPOs, was an expression of Maoists' anger against recruitment of tribals into the police force.

Over 30 people, nearly half of them SPOs, were killed on Monday when Maoists blew up a private bus using a powerful IED at Chingavaram on the Dantewada-Sukhma road in Chhattisgarh.

Because of their critical role in the anti-naxal operations, not only the SPOs but also their families have become the target of bloody retribution, Vij said.

The local tribals and SPOs form the crucial cog in the state's fight against naxal menace due to which their recruitment has gathered momentum. Their shortage, he said, is is affecting the para-military operations.

Vij said that though the Naxalites had been perpetrating atrocities on local tribals for the last three decades even while claiming to fight for their rights, when they shut down village markets and damaged their temples, the Maoists began to be seen like threat to their culture.

The Ranibodli incident in 2007 when naxals killed 55 people, including 39 SPOs, was an expression of Maoists' anger against recruitment of tribals into the police force.

More than 30 people, nearly half of them SPOs, were killed on Monday when Maoists blew up a private bus using a powerful Improvised Explosive Device (IED) at Chingavaram on the Dantewada-Sukhma road in Chhattisgarh.

-PTI


First Published: Wednesday, May 19, 2010, 21:16


Tag: SPOMaoistNaxal
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