Rights activists on Friday opposed in the Supreme Court Chhattisgarh government’s proposal to set up a panel headed by Chief Minister Raman Singh to monitor welfare measures in Naxal-hit areas saying it would be “worst” as he is a “great admirer” of anti-Maoists vigilante group Salwa Judum.

They expressed their reservations against the stand of the state government that the Chief Minister heading a committee will have the “punch” and “force” for implementation of its directions by authorities in the affected districts.

“The Chief Minister has been a great admirer of Salwa Judum. The Chief Minister heading a committee would be worst. It should be headed by a person independent of political affiliation,” senior advocate Ashok Desai, appearing for right activists, submitted before a bench comprising Justices B Sudershan Reddy and S S Nijjar.

The opposition to the state government’s proposal came after senior advocate Harish Salve and Atul Jha, appearing for it, said an elected administrator like Chief Minister heading a committee will have the “punch” and “force” for implementation of its directions which will help in healing the situation for tribals who are the victims of cross-firing between Maoists and security forces.

However, during the hearing, the Bench noted the submission of Chhattisgarh government that it was ready to include as members the persons named by the rights activists in the committee headed by the Chief Minister, which has members having experience of working in tribal areas.