The Chhattisgarh police continue to grapple with the persisting reluctance among its officers to discharge duties in Maoists-infested areas mainly in Bastar, south Chhattisgarh. The post Dantewada attack has again brought into focus such aversion shown by several cops.
With every transfer orders issued, the 'deterred' officers swing into action seeking cancellation of their new assignment or plead the seniors to keep the order in abeyance on various pretexts. The state police headquarter (PHQ) too gets scores of applications by the policemen who are asked to move to Maoists dominated areas.
Upset with the unwilling attitude of their officers, a strict directive was issued by the PHQ to relieve the officers from their present posts without any delay and further to report back on the compliance of its order.
The apparent political clout and alleged backing from top bosses helped many in the past to get the transfer orders revoked or they found relatively safer areas.
The Chhattisgarh Director General of Police Vishwaranjan had written a letter addressing the cops that this is not the occasion for the police in the state to fear the Maoists but to take effective action against the rebels.
Almost simultaneously the instruction was issued by the PHQ to act upon transfer orders.
"We asked district superintendents of police to immediately relieve their officers who were transferred. Over three dozens are told to join their new postings," R K Vij, the state police spokesman told Hindustan Times.
During March this year, around forty officers including few additional superintendents of police (ASPs) and many deputy SPs and inspectors were asked to take on new responsibilities. Around 36 of them didn't comply with their transfer orders.
"We are facing shortage of officers in Naxal areas so to meet the existing vacancies the cops are asked to join immediately. Presenty 40 DSPs selected by the PSC are under training but we are still in need of more," Vij said.
From now onwards whatever the justifications against the transfer, it would be heard only after the officer abides by the directives, Vij added.
The message appeared stern for those remaining disinclined – 'enough is enough'.
A police officer in Dantewada told that usually such strictness is followed after every major attack by the ultras.
"I hope the PHQ remains firm in future as well," he said.
The sources in state PHQ say that nearly 150 police officers who were transferred during the past few years did not join their duties in areas affected by red terror. Among these over 100 managed to get their transfer orders withdrawn and interestingly as many as 30 did not comply. But actions were taken against just ten of them as others managed to justify with their explanations, the sources informed.
In Bastar alone the vacancies of 4 DSP, 30 inspectors and 190 sub-inspectors exists. The Chhattisgarh police has evolved its transfer policy under which ASP, DSP and police inspectors have to compulsorily work in Maoists influenced areas for atleast five years and sub-inspector for minimum of 10 years.