By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, June 6: Nearly 900 armed Special Police Officers (SPOs), recruited in 2008, are on the warpath protesting indifference of the State government in regularizing their jobs.
The situation turned volatile in Dima Hasao where gunshots were reportedly fired from the SPO camp located at Borowapu, about 24 km from Haflong.
Local sources said police forces cordoned off the camp following information that the SPOs were planning to resort to an armed protest march to Lumding, a distance of about 100 km.
However, the SPOs broke open the police barricade and started marching towards Lumding. The SPOs were in possession of around 80/85 firearms. Reports confirmed that gunshots were fired during the tussle between the SPOs and police, but it was not clear which side fired.
In Guwahati, All Assam Special Police Officer Welfare Association president Parag Buragohain said the organization will launch a hunger strike from June 9 in the city.
"We have been given a number of assurances that our jobs will be regularized, but it all remained as lip service. Our hardships continue. We have no other option but to resort to intense agitatiol programmes," he said.
The SPOs were recruited to primarily assist the police in tackling the DHD militancy that terrorized the district till a few years back. They were paid Rs 4,840 as fixed salaries. Three SPOs were also killed in counter-insurgency operations.
"In 2010, 298 SPOs who were engaged in providing security to the rail gauge conversion work, were termited without notice. Most of the weapons issued to the SPOs were stched away with the help of the army," Buragohain stated.
He said the government has assured to absorb the SPOs in the proposed 3rd Asssam Industrial Security Force, but that too has not materialized.