The Centre has come out strongly in support of special police officers (SPOs) such as Koya Commandoes in Chhattisgarh to combat Maoists, insurgents and terrorists.The ministry of home affairs (MHA) has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court admitting financial support to SPOs assisting the police in states facing acute security problems, including Left Wing Extremism (LWE), insurgency and terrorism. At present the ministry is supplements 83 select districts affected by LWE and partially reimburses honorarium of around 70,046 SPOs.
The government’s affidavit, however, failed to impress the bench of justice B Sudershan Reddy and justice SS Nijjar. “What would happen if the SPOs act against the state. God save this country. You think they are effective in fight against the naxals. You say SPOs are part of the strategy and recruited initially for three months. If they turn against the state, think how dangerous would they be,” the bench said. It had on the last date of hearing strongly disapproved of the Centre’s support to such groups.
The bench is hearing a petition against the Chhattisgarh government that set-up salwa judum camps and allegedly forced tribals to fight naxals.
The Centre in its affidavit said the logic behind appointing SPOs was to fight against the auxiliary force raised by the armed wing of Communist Party of India (Maoist). But the MHA said it would issue advisory to all the states to hire SPOs after careful screening and verification and improve the standards of their training.