Govt to move SC on armed SPOs judgement

Last Updated: Thursday, July 7, 2011 - 22:02

Dinesh Sharma

New Delhi: The central government is all set to move the Supreme Court to seek a review of its judgement terming as unconstitutional the practice of using special police officers or SPOs to fight the naxals in Chattisgarh, as per Zee News sources.

While terming the practice of arming the tribals by the state government in its fight against the naxals as ‘unconstitutional’, the Supreme Court had ordered the disbanding of tribals.

According to sources, a process in this respect has already been started by the Home Ministry. It has been reported that consultations are on
with the Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam and other stake
holders including the head of police organisations which were
affected by militancy and insurgency.

It has also been learnt that the centre will hold a meeting of chief ministers
of various states who are fighting the menace of Naxalism, militancy and
insurgency. The meeting will also discuss the apex court’s judgement on Salwa Judum and decide on the future course of action.

The Centre will also examine the order in context of the bearing the order will have on the SPOs in J&K as well many north-eastern states.

The government sources defended the role of SPOs and said
that involving local population was well enshrined in the Police Act and
their engagement in operations was helpful in busting various
terror and Naxal modules.

While ordering the disbanding of SPOs on July 5, the Supreme Court had directed the central government to ‘forthwith’ cease to provide funds for the recruitment of SPOs against the Maoists groups.

The court has also directed the central government to file a compliance report regarding its order within six weeks.

SPOs are recruited by the state government mostly from the local tribal youth population to fight insurgency. According to the government and the police, the SPOs help in providing human intelligence to the security forces.

The Supreme Court had criticised support and funding of SPOs in
campaigns like Koya Commandos and Salwa Judum, an armed
civilian vigilante group whose numbers have gone up from 3,000
to 6,500 within a year.

The SPOs were being provided arms training and were
used to help the state police and paramilitary forces in
entering the dense jungles of Bastar, a hotbed of naxal

They were also being paid a monthly emolument of Rs
2,000 by the state government.

The Chhattisgarh government had expressed concern that disbanding and disarming SPOs would be detrimental to the anti-Naxal operations. It had also said that to recruit and train regular policemen would take not less than a year.

With PTI inputs

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First Published: Thursday, July 7, 2011 - 22:02

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