SPO recruitment in J&K evokes massive response

Applicants wait to give physical test for the post of Special Police Officers (SPO) in Government Railway Police (GRP), in Jammu, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019. (PTI Photo)

Hundreds of young Kashmiris are these days seen lined-up for recruitment in Police at a time when the valley is going through uncertain phase in the aftermath of abrogation of Article 370.

The Jammu and Kashmir Police are conducting recruitment for 5,199 posts of special police officers (SPOs) and it has evoked huge response by aspiring youth across the Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory (UT).

Over 77 thousand youth have applied for these posts across the UT for which physical tests have been conducted across the Valley and the final process of recruitment is in progress. In Kashmir, 26594 aspiring youths have applied for recruitment.

In south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, 2859 applications were received against 409 posts while in neighboring Kulgam district, 989 applied for 259 vacant posts of SPOs. In militancy infested Pulwama, Shopian and Awantipora districts, the number of vacant posts was 575 against which 1,469 youth have applied.

SPOs are recruited by the police on a fixed monthly remuneration of Rs 12000. The wages of SPOs are given by the UT government and reimbursed by the Centre under the Security Related Expenditure (SRE) scheme. The police maintain SPOs are an important element in their strategy to combat militancy.

The 30,000 men and women SPOs - bolstering a police force with duties ranging from fighting militancy to maintaining law and order have been targeted specifically by militants in the last few years.

However, in the last few years, several SPOs have deserted with service rifles to join militancy. A senior police officer said that even though there is “proper mechanism” to keep an eye on the movement of SPOs, sometimes a few cops, mostly in south Kashmir come in contact with local militants and subsequently desert their units along with service riffles.

“But the number who deserted is negligible. If 10 or 15 SPOs out of 30000 have deserted in five years, it can’t be termed as an alarming trend,” he said.

“We have to see that SPOs are a vital cog in anti-militancy security grid and they not only provide vital information about the movement of militants but are always at the forefront during encounters with ultras,” the officer added.

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