The Chhattisgarh government has decided to hire retired army officers upto the rank of Brigadier as instructors in the state police in its fight against Maoists or Left-wing extremism. The state government is also considering a proposal to absorb army officers into the state police force on a permanent basis after they complete a specific period of service.
Even though the army has so far trained more than 75,000 personnel of central paramilitary forces and the police personnel of many naxal-affected states in the last 10 years in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism techniques, this will be the first time that a state government directly recruits former defence personnel in countering the Maoist menace.
The move follows BJP-led Chhattisgarh government's discussions with the Narendra Modi-led Union government and with the top army brass. This is the Modi government's first strong move to counter Maoists.
A senior defence ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Chhattisgarh's initiative will be followed by other Maoist-affected states, such as Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Maharashtra, etc.
"Like Maoists, the army also uses guerrilla warfare tactics. Army officers, who have served in insurgency-hit areas, will be able to provide better strategy and training to take on Maoists," a senior officer at the army headquarters said on condition of anonymity.
To begin with, Chhattisgarh will employed the retired army officers on a contractual basis as instructors in the counter-insurgency and anti-terrorism training establishments and in the Chhattisgarh Armed Force battalions deployed in Maoist-affected areas. The state government has told the ministry of defence that only those officers, who have combat experience in counter-insurgency or counter-terrorism areas will be considered for the appointments.
The former army officers will be contracted for three years on a monthly salary of Rs 85,000. "These officers will be entitled to benefits similar to those offered to Chhattishgarh police and its Armed force," said a defence ministry official.