Jammu, March 31 (IANS) Since the eruption of militancy in the 1990s, over 475 Special Police Officers (SPOs), who are temporary recruits assisting regular police in anti-militancy operations in Jammu and Kashmir, have lost their lives out of a total of 6,000 security personnel killed, said an official statement.
The statement was read out in the Legislative assembly Friday.
According to a Jammu and Kashmir government spokesman, the state government is spending Rs.96.80 crore annually on over 23,000 SPOs it has recruited for assisting the police force in anti militancy operations and the Village Defence Committees (VDC).
In mid-90s the state police also formed group of volunteers in remote and inaccessible mountainous parts of the state known as Village Defence Committees (VDCs).
While the SPOs are given monthly honorarium of Rs.3,000, the VDC members are volunteers who are given uniforms and arms to fight militants. There are nearly 6,000 VDC volunteers in the state.
The spokesman told that till date 477 SPOs and 131 VDC members have lost their lives while fighting militancy in the state. The state government has spent amount of Rs.5.27 crores in respect of ex-gratia relief on 265 cases of SPOs killed while other cases were still pending. In case of VDCs Rs.59 lakhs has been paid as ex-gratia in 52 cases while rest were pending.
'The state government has written to the Union home ministry to raise the honorarium of SPOs from Rs.3000 to Rs.5000 per month,' the spokesman added.
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