Guwahati, Apr 23 (PTI) Over 275 Special Police Officers(SPO) force personnel in Assam attempted to jump into the Brahmaputra river from the second Saraighat bridge here today demanding permanent appointment in Assam Industrial Security Force(AISF), police said.
The SPO personnel in their khaki uniforms marched to the bridge and tried to jump from its guard wall and were stooped by a huge force of Assam Police and CRPF personnel deployed there in view of the agitational programme.
A scuffle followed between the two sides and the police resorted to lathi charge to control the agitating SPO personnel, police officials at the site said.
None was injured in the lathi charge, the police said.
River police and NDRF boats were deployed in the river to rescue any SPO man who may jump into the water from the bridge, the officials said.
The protest led to heavy traffic jams on the bridge and in the area as the SPO personnel squatted on it. A Kamrup (Metro) district administration senior official met them there and assured to carry their grievances and demands to the government.
The SPO men, carrying banners and shouting slogans told reporters, “We were engaged in 2008 but were suddenly disarmed some years ago without any notice and rendered jobless by the government without giving us alternative permanent appointment. As we have no means of sustenance any more, we are giving up our life”.
They said that the government holds talks with the SPOs regularly and promises them permanent appointment but has not done anything so far.
“We demand that all of us be permanently appointed in the Assam Industrial Security Force immediately,” they demanded.
The All Assam Special Police Welfare Association president Parag Buragohain alleged that there were about 900 SPOs initially but in 2010 the state government discharged 298 of them from duty without any notice. “We have been demanding justice but the state government has been delaying it.” The Assam government had announced to raise the 3rd AISF battalion where the SPOs were assured to be inducted but it has not become a reality, he added.
The state government had raised SPOs in 2008 to guard government officials and vital installations after Karbi militants triggered large-scale violence in Dima Hasao district.
Several surrendered extremists were inducted as SPOs under the rehabilitation scheme for them and were later posted in Chirang, Nagaon, Kamrup, Barpeta, Nalbari and Morigaon districts.
The Assam government, however, disarmed all the SPOs in the state in June 2015 after some 150 of them engaged in protection of railway and highway constructions in Dima Hasao hill district staged a revolt against the government.
They have been periodically resorting to protests and agitational programmes since 2015 to press for their demands.
The State Level Police Recruitment Board had in an online advertisement in last December invited applications from former SPOs for 145 vacant posts in the 1st and 2nd AISF battalions.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.