Govt. never acknowledged civilian militia’s illegal acts

The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Chhattisgarh government to show cause why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against it for its failure to carry out the court directions, issued in July 2011, banning Salwa Judum and asking authorities to vacate all schools and ashrams occupied by security forces.

Acting on petitions filed by social anthropologist Nandini Sundar, Ram Guha, Swami Agnivesh, Kartam Joga and others, the court on July 5, 2011 gave a series of directions to the Central and Chhattisgarh governments and sought a compliance report. The petitioners complained that the State government had not complied with many of the directions.

A Bench of Justices S.S. Nijjar and Ibrahim Kalifulla, after hearing senior counsel Ashok Desai, issued notice on the contempt petition and posted further hearing to October 3.

Prof. Nandini Sundar and others said the State government had negated the court order with impunity. Special police officers were not allowing the CBI to conduct a probe and as a result the investigating agency was now seeking protection from the SPOs. All schools were not vacated by the security forces.

Though a direction was issued to stop all support to Salwa Judum, the State government never acknowledged or punished illegal acts committed by the civilian militia. The court directed registration of FIRs for investigation of criminal cases but only negligible action was taken on cognisable offences cited by the National Human Rights Commission.

Further, nobody had been compensated for property losses, even in camps leave alone villages, the petition said. Nor were victims of Salwa Judum compensated even for loss of life. Only those who were victims of Naxal violence were compensated. The widespread property damage witnessed by an NHRC team was just dismissed by the Chhattisgarh government.

The petition said the State was blatantly false in claiming the SPOs were not being used for combating Maoists and that no erstwhile SPO was in possession of arms. “This claim is both perjury and contempt since all that has been done is to change their names from the SPOs to armed auxiliary forces and they remain erstwhile SPOs.”