In a major decision, the Jammu and Kashmir government Thursday ordered screening of the appointments, performance and antecedents of Special Police Officers (SPOs) engaged during the past six years to show door to incapable and undeserving appointees.
A total of 35,758 Special Police Officers (SPOs) contributing to the strength of Jammu and Kashmir Police Force have suddenly have come under an axe, as J&K Home Department today constituted District level screening committees to weed out ‘un-deserving’ and ‘un-suited’ cadre.
The State Home department today ordered constitution of district-level committees to asses and screen the SPOs engaged in the past six years with regard to their appointments, antecedents, and performance from the viewpoint of the job required to be performed by them.
According to the order issued by Principal Secretary Home, the DGP shall take concrete steps on the recommendations of the committee to weed out the undeserving and unsuitable recruits.
The committees have been asked to assess the performance of SPOs engaged in past six years on four parameters and submit their recommendation to Home Department within a month, following which the state police chief will take the necessary measures to weed-out the unnecessary SPOs.
These 22 committees will be headed by concerned Deputy Commissioner with Superintendent of Police and Deputy Superintendent of Police (CID SB) as its members to screen the SPOs field functioning.
“The committees shall assess and screen the SPOs selected during past six years with regard to their appointments, antecedents and performance from view point of jobs required to be performed by SPOs in assisting the JKP in matters of operational duties viz-e-viz CI operations, Intelligence gathering, Maintenance of Law and Order and guarding of vital installations”, the order vide no 921 Home of 2018 read.
The order further said that committees shall submit their reports to the Home Department with in a period of one month from the date of the issue of the order, with a copy to the DGP.
“The DGP shall take the requisite steps to weed out the un suitable and undeserving SPOs, on the recommendation of the aforesaid District Level Committees and furnish an action taken report within two weeks, thereafter,” it further reads.
The Home Department is believed to have issued this strict order on the basis of the complaints lodged to the Governor House that the SPOs so recruited have been working as ‘servants to the households of the senior cops’.
The blunt order is also seen to come to fore on the basis of the reports that the recruitments of the SPOs were made purely to appease the political leaders, thus paved the way for selection of the un deserving and unfit persons in the elite police force.
Pertinently, on September 21, 2016, the Centre had sanctioned additional 10,000 Special Police Officer (SPOs) in Jammu and Kashmir. While the recruitment process was in full swing, the MHA restrained state government and directed not to make any engagement of SPOs from August 24,2017 onwards.
The centre reportedly had put a freeze on engagement of SPOs following the hue and cry by opposition parties during budget session in winter capital criticizing that the appointments for SPOs were being made in alleged violation of the rules and on the political recommendations.
In August last year, the Government of India had put a blanket ban on recruitment of SPOs after allegations that recruitments were made in violation of rules and on the political recommendations. In the past few years, many SPOs had also joined militant ranks.
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.”
Their total sanctioned strength is 35000. At present, 4000 slots of SPOs are lying vacant.
Before the 2016 uprising, the MHA increased their honorarium to Rs 5000-6000 depending upon their experience.