Ummid Assistant

Hajj committee's IAS coaching cell invites applications for new batch

AMU Centre for Distance Education to add five more study centres

Welcome Guest! You are here: Home Special Reports

Chhattisgarh's terror boys: once feared now fearful

Thursday July 21, 2011 12:10:58 PM, Sujeet Kumar, IANS

Bijapur (Chhattisgarh): They were tagged as the terror boys ruling the heart of India's insurgency zone. Once striding down jungle roads with AK-47s on their shoulders, the ragtag band of special police officers (SPOs) who formed the dreaded Salwa Judum have been stripped off their arms and now fear for their lives.

About 5,000 SPOs, described by right activists as "non state actors" armed by the Chhattisgarh government to kill its own citizens, have been put under security cover in the sprawling 40,000 sq km mineral-rich but restive Bastar region that has for years been the epicentre of the Maoist movement.

On July 5, the government's game plan changed when the Supreme Court pulled up the government for perpetuating the gross violation of human rights and said the practice of using tribals as SPOs in the fight against Maoists must stop immediately. The court said the use of ill-trained and unqualified tribals as SPOs was against the moral and constitutional mandate of the government.

For the many SPOs, their lives also changed with that ruling.

"It's unfair to disarm me and then confine me in a police station. I have been leading life like a coward and feeling like an arrested person," Mahendra Sakni, an SPO since early 2006, told IANS at the Kotwali police station in Bijapur, about 450 km from the state capital Raipur.

His self-loading rifle (SLR) has been seized and 31-year-old Sakni has gone from being a symbol of terror to being terrorised.

"The government called me about five years ago from my native village Toyanar to take on the Dadas (as Maoist guerrillas are referred to). I risked my life and the whole family, and I produced the best results. But in return what have I got? My weapons have been taken, I have been put in a police station and then banned from moving out," Sakni said.

Chetan Durgam, 32, who is also at the Kotwali police station, finds himself in a similar fix - used by the government against his own people and now fearing for his life.

"The government had given me arms in 2006 and a virtual a licence to kill Dadas. I was doing it honestly. Now, suddenly, my weapons have gone. This is cheating because they put my life in danger and now I am scared," Durgam said.

The government, on its part, is going ahead with its plans. "The process of disarming SPOs is in full swing because we have to report back to the apex court in a six-week period about implementation of its order," said an officer at police headquarters in Raipur.

"The moment we seize their weapons, we put them under security cover either at Salwa Judum relief camps or police stations because unarmed SPOs are just like chicken for hungry tigers (Maoists)," he added.

Salwa Judum, which means 'peace march' in the tribals' Gondi language, was launched in June 2005 in Bastar where police and paramilitary are currently engaged in a fight to regain up to 10,000 sq km forested areas where Maoists have established their own authority.

Government officials admit that the court order has slowed down the anti-Maoist drive in the state because SPOs were "part and parcel" of the combing squads. Stunned by the court order, the state's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government plans to move a review petition in the Supreme Court.

"The SPOs were extremely handy to dismantle the CPI-Maoist (Communist Party of India-Maoist) terror network because they are locals and are well aware of the jungle terrain and the Maoists' war game. SPOs had inside knowledge as some had served as low-ranked Maoist cadres, while several were victims of guerrilla violence," a police officer in Bastar said on the condition of anonymity.

Chhattisgarh has witnessed more than 2,200 casualties in Maoist violence since it came into existence in November 2000.

And in this battle for survival, the SPOs suddenly find themselves relegated to a side role -- in the Maoists' line of fire and of no use to the government either.

(Sujeet Kumar can be contacted at








  Bookmark and Share

Home | Top of the Page



Note: By posting your comments here you agree to the terms and conditions of

Comments powered by DISQUS




Top Stories

Our bonds outweigh differences: Clinton

With the strategic dialogue bringing out divergent perceptions on some aspects of the civilian nuclear deal and Afghanistan, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Wednesday underlined that her country's  

India-US higher education summit in October

US pushes India on n-liability law, talks tough on Pakistan


  Most Read

Over half of Indian kids are without immunisation

More than half of Indian children under the age of two do not receive comprehensive routine immunisation, a study by an NGO said Wednesday. According to international aid agency Save the 

Congress activists protest Kashmiri students' harassment

Dozens of Congress activists staged a demonstration in this Jammu and Kashmir summer capital Wednesday against the alleged harassment of Kashmiri students in Madhya Pradesh. The protesters raised slogans like, "Down with the MP (Madhya Pradesh) government"  


  News Pick

Jamia honours Ambassador of Saudi Arabia

The Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) Wednesday conferred its first ever Nishan-e-Azad title on Faisal Hasan Trad, ambassador of Saudi Arabia to India 

India's youngest ministry tasked to end open defecation

India's youngest ministry has the enormous task of ridding rural areas of open defecation and unsafe drinking water with about 245 million people in the country still without access to sanitation facilities and nearly 

Lord's ladies told to dress appropriately

As India and England tread cautiously for their 100th Test match at Lord's, the women members of the famous Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) have reportedly been asked to dress appropriately for the historic 

Venezuela surpasses Saudi Arabia in oil reserves

Venezuela is now the country with the most proven crude oil reserves on the planet, 296.5 billion barrels, according to the Annual Statistical Bulletin of the Organization of the Oil Exporting Countries. The South American country's 


Picture of the Day

Jamia Millia Vice Chancellor Najeeb Jang conferring the title 'Nishan-e-Azad' on Ambassador of Saudi Arabia Faisal Hasan Trad on July 20, 2011.



RSS  |  Contact us


| Quick links



Subscribe to

Ummid Assistant






About us




Government Schemes










Contact us





      Disclaimer | Terms of Use | Advertise with us | Link Exchange is part of the Awaz Multimedia & Publications providing World News, News Analysis and Feature Articles on Education, Health. Politics, Technology, Sports, Entertainment, Industry etc. The articles or the views displayed on this website are for public information and in no way describe the editorial views. The users are entitled to use this site subject to the terms and conditions mentioned.

2010 Awaz Multimedia & Publications. All rights reserved.