Battling rising Maoist militancy, the Chhattisgarh government has decided to add another 2,400 special police officers (SPOs) to be drawn from local youths to combat the guerrillas, an official said on Monday.
"The SPOs have proved to be an asset for the state in fighting Maoist militancy and also in breaking their intelligence network," a senior police officer told IANS.
He said that at least 2,400 local youths in Bastar will be appointed as SPOs this year to team up with police and central forces to dismantle Maoists terror network in a sprawling area of 40,000 sq km.
"The guys who know much about Maoists locally in Bastar as well as their intelligence set up and want to serve the country to eliminate leftist insurgency will be recruited as SPOs. The appointment process will begin soon," the officer said.
Chhattisgarh's Bastar region already has about 2,500 SPOs. They are paid a monthly remuneration of Rs.3,000 as they are not part of the regular police force. But the authorities spend a good amount on providing them capsule training on guerrilla warfare and arms handling.
The Bastar region, comprising Narayanpur, Kanker, Bastar, Bijapur and Dantewada districts, is considered to be the nerve centre of the Maoists since the late 1980s. Over a thousand people have been killed here in the last one decade in Maoist violence.