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CM focuses on rebels

Bhubaneswar, Jan. 11: Chief minister Naveen Patnaik today asked policemen deployed in the state’s Maoist-affected areas to be cautious so that innocent tribal people were not harassed.

“I will advise the police to see that innocent citizens in the Maoist-affected areas are protected and not unduly harassed as a result of our operations,” he said at the 57th senior police officers’ conference.

A recruitment drive has already been undertaken to strengthen the force with appointment of 6,300 constables.

Naveen said cash rewards had also been announced for surrender and arrest of 514 Maoists.

Speaking to the media after the conference, director-general of police Prakash Mishra suggested that in view of huge vacancy of police officers at the sub-inspector level and the approaching Assembly and general elections, retired police personnel should be drafted in to fill up these posts.

“Around 1,400 sub-inspector posts are lying vacant and this is affecting crime investigation, detection and maintenance of law and order. With the elections round the corner we need officers at this level and in a short time,” said Mishra.

He said it would be difficult for the government to recruit so many sub-inspector level officers and train them within such a short span of time. “The government can look for retired police officers who could be appointed for a temporary period,” he said Mishra.

Speaking at the conference earlier, Naveen underscored the need to curb crime against women and children.

“To curb women and child trafficking, 84 posts have been created for the existing 12 integrated anti-human trafficking units. Besides, 25 more such units have been sanctioned to cover all districts.

As many as 537 sub-inspectors have been recruited to strengthen the women and children desks functioning in all police stations,” he said.

He asked the officials to be extra vigilant to prevent crimes against women, children, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes and others from the less privileged sections of the society.