A day after the Supreme Court criticised the Centre and the Chhattisgarh government for arming tribal youths as Special Police Officers to fight Maoists, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram said on Wednesday that he would hold discussions with the Chief Ministers of left wing extremism-affected States to ascertain how the order would impact anti-Naxal operations.
The court termed “unconstitutional” the practice of deploying SPOs in campaigns like the Salwa Judum which the Chhattisgarh government launched to fight the Maoists. It ordered the immediate disarming of the SPOs.
Mr. Chidambaram told journalists here that he had not gone through the judgment fully. “I got a copy of the judgment very late last [Tuesday] night. I was reading the earlier judgment on black money, then this judgment came. I have not yet fully read the judgment, though I have read operative portions…”
“There are a number of directions issued to the Chhattisgarh government and they [the judges] have asked for a compliance report from the Union government and the Chhattisgarh government within…six weeks,” he said.
Mr. Chidambaram said there were many parts of the judgment where there was no controversy, but there were some areas which had to be read carefully. “I will have to discuss it with the Chief Ministers concerned to see what impact it will have on the anti-Maoist operations.”
He said it was not the Centre alone, but many States — including those not affected by Maoist violence — were also involved. Special Police Officers were operating in Jammu and Kashmir and north-eastern States too. “We will formulate our course of action after reading the judgment carefully.”