Stop using tribals in Salwa Judum, apex court tells Chhattisgarh (Lead)July 5th, 2011 - 11:53 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, July 5 (IANS) The Supreme Court Tuesday slammed the Chhattisgarh government for using tribals as special police officers (SPOs) in its Salwa Judum counter-insurgency operation against the Maoists, and said this should immediately stop.
The court held that the appointment of SPOs to perform any of the duties of regular police officers was unconstitutional.
The court also pulled up the government for engaging in and perpetuating the gross violation of human rights in its counter-insurgency operations by adopting the ways similar to one used by the Maoists.
An apex court bench of Justice B. Sudershan Reddy and Justice S.S. Nijjar in its judgment directed the Chhattisgarh government to immediately “cease and desist” from recruiting tribals as SPOs for Salwa Jadum.
The court said that the use of such ill-trained and unqualified tribals as SPOs was against the moral and constitutional mandate of the government.
The judges said that on the one hand the state subsidised the private sector, giving it tax break after tax break, and on the other it cited lack of revenue as the primary reason for not fulfilling its obligation to provide adequate cover to the poor through social welfare measures.
“Tax breaks for the rich, and guns for the youngsters amongst poor, so that they keep fighting amongst themselves, seems to be the new mantra from the mandarins of security and high economic policy of the state,” the court said.
The judgment said the Chhattishgarh government will “immediately cease and desist from using SPOs in any manner or form in any activities, directly or indirectly, aimed at controlling, countering, mitigating or otherwise eliminating Maoist/Naxalite activities in the state.”
The court ordered that the “Union of India to cease and desist, forthwith, from using any of its funds in supporting, directly or indirectly, the recruitment of SPOs for the purposes of engaging in any form of counter-insurgency activities against Maoist/Naxalite groups.”
The court told the central and the state governments to file compliance reports on its directions within six weeks and fixed the next hearing in the first week of September.
Justice Reddy speaking for the bench said: “Chhattisgarh shall take all appropriate measures to prevent the operation of any group, including but not limited to Salwa Judum and Koya Commandos (a police team largely comprising surrendered Maoists), that in any manner or form seek to take law into private hands, act unconstitutionally or otherwise violate the human rights of any person.”
“Chhattisgarh claims that it has a constitutional sanction to perpetrate, indefinitely, a regime of gross violation of human rights in a manner, and by adopting the same modes, as done by Maoist/Naxalite extremists,” said the court.
The judgment said that tribal youths that were earlier employed as SPOs could be given lighter duties like managing traffic provided that they have not engaged in any form of counter-insurgency activities involving the violation of human rights.
The court also said that the Chhattisgarh government shall forthwith make every effort to recall all firearms issued to any of the SPOs, whether current or former, along with the ammunition. The firearm would include “any and all forms of guns, rifles and launchers, of whatever calibre”.
It also ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into an attack on social activist Swami Agnivesh in a tribal area of the state March 23. The court also ordered the CBI investigation into the incident of violence alleged to have occurred in March in the three villages of Morpalli, Tadmetla and Timmapuram, located in Dantewada district or its neighbouring areas.
The court said the State government would take appropriate steps and measures within the law and the constitution to protect the lives of those who had been employed as SPOs previously, or who had been given any initial orders of selection or appointment.
The court order came in the wake of a petition by Delhi University’s Professor Nandini Sundar who sought the disbanding of state-sponsored vigilante group Salwa Jadum.
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- Apex court to hear plea against SPOs' disbanding Sep 22 - Sep 09, 2011
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- Salwa Judum never existed: Raman Singh - May 04, 2012
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Tags: apex, apex court, chhattisgarh government, constitutional mandate, court bench, economic policy, gross violation, mandarins, mantra, maoist, maoists, nijjar, social welfare, special police officers, tax break, tax breaks, tribals, violation of human rights, welfare measures, youngsters