State can`t arm people to fight Naxals: SC

Last Updated: Wednesday, April 6, 2011 - 19:51

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday disapproved the idea of arming local people to counter the
Maoists and sought an explanation from the Chhattisgarh
Government for creating an anti-Naxal armed group of special
police officers -- Koya Commandos.

"What is this Koya Commandos? How are they appointed
and how are they given training etc? It is very dangerous..,
giving them arms to fight," a bench comprising justices B
Sudershan Reddy and S S Nijjar said.
The bench directed the state government to file an
affidavit on the raising of Koya Commandos and also state
under what rule they were being supplied arms and ammunition.
It posted the matter for further hearing on April 15.

"The affidavit will tell under which rule the Koya
Commandos are appointed and under which rule they are given
arms and ammunition? We must know it," the bench said, while
making it clear that the affidavit has to be filed by a senior
officer.
The special police officers have been given the name
Koya Commandos after a tribe in the Dantewada region.
It was not for the first time that the apex court has
expressed its concern over the creation of armed anti-Naxalite
group. In February 2009 also it had questioned how the
government could arm common people or those associated with
Salwa Judum, a people`s movement to combat the Maoists in
Chhatisgarh.

The court had said the state should not arm common
people and encourage them to fight Naxalites as "it will
create a dangerous situation".

However, the Chhattisgarh Government has maintained
that Salwa Judum was a dying movement and it was not giving
any encouragement to it.

The court passed the order while hearing a petition
against the existence of Salwa Judum in Naxal-infested regions
of the state to fight the Maoists.

The petition had been filed by sociologist Nandini
Sundar, historian Ramchandra Guha, former bureaucrat E A S
Sarma and others seeking a direction to the state government
to refrain from allegedly supporting Salwa Judum.

During the hearing, Swami Agnivesh informed the court
about last month`s incident when he was attacked by a group of
people -- allegedly consisting of SPOs and Salwa Judum
volunteers-- when he was visiting a Naxal region near
Dantewada with activists of the Art of Living of Sri Sri Ravi
Shankar.

The Chhattisgarh government informed the bench that it
has already ordered an inquiry by the district and sessions
judge, Bastar, into the incident and the notification in this
regard was issued yesterday.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the state
government, however, sought liberty from the court to persuade
Chief Minister Raman Singh to order an inquiry by a
Chhattisgarh High Court judge.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, April 6, 2011 - 19:51

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