By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, June 7: Special Police Officers (SPO) on the warpath demanding regularization of their jobs, were today disarmed following a couple of incidents of firing, but the agitating jawans vowed to continue their struggle.
Earlier, at least five persons, including two personnel, were injured in police firing during an armed revolt by the SPOs in Dima Hasao district.
Over 400 armed SPOs had embarked on a march from Haflong to Guwahati, but they were intercepted by police. Police claimed that during the scuffle, the SPOs opened fire, forcing the police to resort to targeted firing.
“Following the scuffle, all SPOs in Dima Hasao have been disarmed and forced back to their camp. We are keeping a watch over the situation. We may take up cases against the SPOs if necessary,” Commissioner & Secretary (Home) LS Changsan said.
There are around 440 SPOs in Dima Hasao district. Other are deployed in districts like Kokrajhar, Chirang and Baksa.
Official sources said the State government was “positive” about absorbing the SPOs as home guards or in the proposed 3rd Assam Police Industrial Force.
However, the SPOs said “such assurances” were given umpteen times earlier, but nothing has materialized till date.
While the SPOs have been agitating for more than three years now, the government has taken a strong view of the “armed revolt” this time.
SPOs were initially hired in 2008 by the government on behalf of tiol Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for protection of men and material in their projects.
The present situation erupted following a sudden letter from the NHAI in May that the services of SPOs were termited with effect from April 1 this year.
In September last year, around 200 SPOs started marching from Maibong station in Dima Hasao district towards Guwahati along the rail tracks protesting a number of issues, including alleged reduction in their wages which was denied by the government.
They had called off their protest march after getting assurance from the State government that time.