Puttur, Oct 13,2016: A year ago, 32-year-old Suresh G. from Puttur was shattered when he was relieved of his duties. He had been serving as a Home Guard attached to the Puttur police station when the disaster struck.
Suresh was among 18 Malekudiyas — an indigenous tribe of the region — who were discharged from service as there was no scheme to continue paying their wages.
The tribals were left with no choice but to do menial jobs for a livelihood.
But the smiles are back on their faces. Suresh has returned to policing, as one of the 150 Home Guards appointed by the Dakshina Kannada police against 191constable vacancies.
Naxal aid money
Suresh and 17 others were among the beneficiaries of the Rs. 23-crore Naxal aid package announced by the Bharatiya Janata Party government in 2012 to provide employment and address other needs of the Malekudiyas. All 18 had earlier worked in different police stations with an honorarium of Rs. 170 per day, which was subsequently increased to Rs. 250 per day, before they were discharged in August 2015.
The setback was overcome in the first week of September, when Superintendent of Police Bhushan Gulabrao Borase got a notification permitting the Dakshina Kannada police to use the services of 150 Home Guards. “I prefer having the 18 Malekudiyas among the 150,” he said.
Suresh and seven other Malekudiyas have readily chosen policing duties. They have started working at various police stations since October 1, receiving the current daily honorarium of Rs. 350.
Deputy Home Guards Commandant Ramesh Poojary said three Malekudiyas had expressed their inability to join the police as they were now employed elsewhere.
Efforts were being made to contact the remaining seven, he added.