SPOs stage armed revolt, 5 injured

SPOs stage armed revolt, 5 injured

At least five persons were injured, including two personnel, in police firing during an armed revolt by Special Police Officers (SPOs) across Assam demanding regularisation of their jobs.

Around 840 SPOs were trying to march towards Guwahati yesterday from Dima Hasao, Lumding, Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa, Barpeta, Morigaon, Nagaon and Hojai among other places, a top police officer said.

"The epicentre of the revolt was in Dima Hasao, where about 340 SPOs boarded three dumpers and one truck to come to Lumding en-route to Guwahati. We intercepted them at the start last night," Inspector General (Law and Order) of Police, S N Singh told PTI over phone from the spot.

When the police requested the SPOs not to proceed and lay down their arms, the agitators fired at random, he added.

"We had no option but to have targetted firing, in which two persons sustained bullet injuries. Three more persons were injured during the scuffle and commotion," Singh said.
He said it was a planned revolt against the government and all the 840 SPOs across the state have been disarmed and pushed back to their camps in the early hours today.

"This is not the first time they are doing this. When last time they protested in similar manner, we promised them to give preference in recruitment in the police force provided they apply, but they want the job without applying for it. We had also told them that they would be inducted as Home Guards in different districts," Singh said.

The government will not compromise this time and will terminate their services, file cases, followed by arrests, for armed rebellion against the state, he added.

SPOs were intially hired in 2008 by the government on behalf of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for protection of men and material in their projects.

The IGP informed that the present situation erupted following a sudden letter from the NHAI in May that the services of SPOs were terminated 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 against a number of issues, including alleged reduction in their wages which was denied by the government.
They had aborted their protest march after getting assurance from the state government that time.

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