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Ensure payment of Jammu and Kashmir SPOs through Aadhaar-linked A/Cs:Union Home Ministry

Ensure payment of Jammu and Kashmir SPOs through Aadhaar-linked A/Cs:Union Home Ministry
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NEW DELHI: The Centre has asked the Jammu and Kashmir government to ensure payment to Special Police Officers (SPOs) through Aadhaar-linked bank accounts and make their recruitment process fair and transparent, an official said.

In a communication, the Home Ministry said the step was being taken to make sure no one receives remuneration by providing a fake name.

The ministry has also asked the Jammu and Kashmir government to ensure that the process to recruit around 4,200 SPOs is fair, transparent and free from political interference.

The state government has been told to put in place a screening process for recruitment of SPOs and also look into the mechanism to review the antecedents and performance of existing SPOs, the Home Ministry official said.

The remuneration of the SPOs is reimbursed by the Home Ministry under the Security Related Expenditure (SRE) scheme.

An SPO initially draws Rs 5,000 per month, Rs 5,300 after completion of one year and Rs 6,000 after completion of three years.

The total sanctioned posts of SPOs in Jammu and Kashmir was 25,474 as on July 2016. As many as 1,089 posts were vacant at that time.

In August 2016, the central government had sanctioned an additional 10,000 posts, taking the total number to 35,474. So far, 6,838 of these new posts were filled up. The total vacant posts of SPOs now stands at 4,251.

In the past, many surrendered militants were recruited as SPOs and gained notoriety for allegedly committing excesses in anti-militancy operations.

When the recruitment process of the SPOs had started late last year, thousands of youths across Kashmir had turned up, defying militants’ threats and the separatists’ boycott call The authorities have received over 25,000 applications from aspiring candidates willing to serve as SPOs from across the 10 districts of the valley.

Separatists had asked the youths to ignore the “enticement aimed at breaking their ranks”, alleging that the government was trying to revive “Ikhwan” militia of the 1990s to crush the “freedom struggle”

Pakistan-backed militant group Hizbul Mujahideen also had issued a warning to the youths against taking part in it.

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