Centre backs Chhattisgarh govt, justifies Salwa Judum before SC

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New Delhi, Apr 15 (UNI) The Supreme Court today directed National Human Rights Commission(NHRC) to file within eight weeks its report on the alleged killings and torture of innocent people by Salwa Judum activists in Chhattisgarh who are armed by the state government to deal with the menace of naxalism.

Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium told a bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice R V Raveendran that the situation in Chhattisgarh was really alarming and of considerable concern both for the Centre as well as for the state government.

Mr Subramanium also justified the Salwa Judum movement in the state under which, private citizens, mostly young boys, are being armed by the state government to tackle the menace of naxalites.

The Central government fully backed the Chhattisgarh government and told the court that no policemen was prepared to step into the jungles inhabited by naxalites who killed the people, including policemen and politicians with immunity.

Mr Subramanium gave gory details of the large scale killings by naxalites, in which 211 policemen have been killed and also informed the court that Nagaland government also withdrew its policemen who were deployed in the belief that they were brave and were familiar with the forest terrain of Dantewada region of Chhattisgarh.

Senior counsel K K Venugopal appearing for the state of Chhattisgarh pleaded with the court to dismiss the PIL and told the court that tendu leaves industry in the state has been fully destroyed due to the violent activities of the naxalites.

Former Attorney General Ashok Desai appearing for the petitioner, however, contended that state backed Salwa Judum activists are actively involved in large scale killings and torture of innocents coupled with increasing incidents of sexual assualt on women in the state which is a clear violation of right to life as well as human right.

The NHRC had issued notices to state government on April 4 to explain the large scale killings of the innocents under the garb of tackling the menace of naxalites.

The Central government has, however, made it clear that it has no objection to an investigation and enquiry by the NHRC and Centre was not obsessed with any political consideration and is keeping a close watch on the situation in states like Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, which are facing the naxalite menace.

Chhattisgarh is ruled by BJP, while there is a UPA government at the Centre but both agree on the fact that problems posed by naxalites was not only a law and order problem but a public order problem. People feel safe only in the camps set-up by the state government and are not willing to go back to jungles infested by the naxalites.

UNI SC AE GC1421

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