Srinagar: Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has asked the Jammu and Kashmir government to enquire into the recent recruitment of Special Police Officers (SPOs), who are considered as backbone of the State’s anti-militancy operations in Kashmir.
The directions from the MHA has come after Jammu and Kashmir police appointed nearly 3000 SPOs post 2016 uprising.
“Home Ministry has asked us to enquire whether transparency has been maintained in the recent recruitment of the SPOs,” a senior official told the ‘Kashmir Vision’.
He said Home Ministry thinks police department has not adopted a proper mechanism in the recruitment process and “illegally” appointed most of the SPOs.
He said that the State government was “examining the procedures how to go ahead with the enquiry”.
Home Ministry has already put a freeze on engagement of SPOs and asked the State Government not to recruit them from August 24 onwards. The ban on recruitment came after J&K’s opposition parties criticized the State government for appointing the SPOs in violation of the rules and on the ‘political considerations’.
Notably, the 10,000 additional posts were sanctioned in 2016 by the MHA to strengthen the counter insurgency grid in the state.
Officials say out of total 35,474 sanctioned posts of SPOs, only 4,251 are vacant.
As of now the system, which is going on in the state, the recruitment of SPOs is done by District Senior Superintendents of Police.
The Ministry has asked the state government to put in place a screening process for recruitment and also review the mechanism to review the antecedents and performance of existing SPOs.
Engaged since 1995 on monthly remuneration of Rs 3,000, the SPOs are involved in anti-militancy operations, intelligence gathering and “controlling law and order situations.”
Before the 2016 uprising, the MHA increased honorarium of the SPOs to Rs 5000-6000, depending upon their experience.
Pertinently, in 2016, the MHA’s J&K division had written to the state government that only those SPOs would be retained who are “really useful in dealing with separatist forces and insurgency in the state.”