SPOs emerge as Maoists` nemesis in Chhattisgarh

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

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