The Orissa state government in India should develop and put into effect measures to ensure that children are not recruited as "special police officers," Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a Jan. 27 letter to Orissa's Chief Minister Navin Patnaik. The group also expressed concern that special police officers (SPOs), an auxiliary force, were being used in armed operations against Maoist insurgents, contrary to Indian law. The Orissa government in Nov. 2008 announced a plan to recruit an estimated 2,000 local tribal youth as SPOs to counter insurgents in the region. In adjoining Chhattisgarh state, SPOs, including many children under the age of 18, were deployed in armed. (HRW)

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