Rahul ''respects'' SC ruling on 'Salwa Judum'

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{image-rahul gandhi_26042008.jpg www.oneindia.com}Kanker, Chhattisgarh, Apr 26: Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi today pointed out that the recent Supreme Court decision on 'Salwa Judum' -- the ongoing peoples' movement against Naxals in Chhattisgarh's Bastar division -- has to be respected.

''The Supreme Court has given its order. It has to be respected as it is the country's apex court,'' he said while replying to a question about his views on 'Salwa Judum'. When pointed out that people had divergent views over the issue, Mr Gandhi said, ''There are different views. It is for the state's people to decide. As far as I am concerned, I respect the Supreme Court's views.'' The 'Salwa Judum' issue figured during Mr Gandhi's visit to Bastar yesterday when one group demanded the movement's scrapping while another openly supported it.

The apex court recently expressed disapproval of constitution of 'Salwa Judum' self-defence groups by the Chhattisgarh government and giving them weapons to tackle the Naxalism menace.

Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, heading a two-judge bench, had wondered, ''How can the state give arms to some people. The state will be abetting in a crime if these people kill others.'' 'Salwa Judum', which in tribal Gondi dialect means peace movement, started in June 2005 in a remote village in Bastar to tackle Naxalism.

However, a section of people termed the movement state-sponsored and criticised it, alleging that innocent tribals were being used as human shields in the conflict against the ultras.

UNI

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