Raipur, Oct 11 (IANS) The Chhattisgarh government Saturday suspended 13 policemen, including six inspectors, for refusing to accept transfers to the insurgency-hit Bastar region interiors.
'We had no option left but to crack the whip on 13 policemen who defied the government transfer order and refused to join duty in Bastar region, despite repeated reminders,' R.K. Vij, inspector general (administration), told IANS.
The suspended policemen also include seven sub-inspectors. They were transferred in July-August to the interiors of Bastar where Maoists have been running a de facto administration since early 1980s.
'Dozens of more cops are lined up for receiving suspension orders for refusing to accept Bastar postings,' Vij stated, adding 'we have just sent a list of four officers of deputy superintendent of police (DSP) rank to the government for suitable action'.
Top officials at the police headquarters here said, 'This is the first lot of suspension, many more would be made in the coming weeks in a phased manner.'
According to sources, the police headquarter was taken by surprise when dozens of officials, from the rank of sub-inspector to DSP level flatly refused to accept postings in the Maoist-infested land.
'It affects the morale of the entire police force when cops are reluctant to take on Maoist militants, when the fact is that in the past two years we have pushed insurgents on the backfoot by carrying out several deadly attacks on their hideouts,' a source remarked.
Bastar region, which is split into five districts, carries the tag of being India's Maoist terror nerve centre. The region witnessed killings of about 1,100 people since 2004, including of 726 civilians.
About 50,000 people have been uprooted in the region from their villages due to a battle between the insurgents and cadres of Salwa Judum, a government-backed civilian militia movement launched in June 2005 against Maoists.
The government has rehabilitated them in 22 different makeshift relief camps in Bijapur and Dantewada districts.