Campaign for Peace & Justice in Chhattisgarh

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PRESS RELEASE

31st March 2008

Government’s Support to Salwa Judum Amounts to Endorsing Vigilantism says Supreme Court

Noting that the State cannot distribute arms to individuals in the name of countering insurgency as this amounts to abetment of crime, a Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice Aftab Alam today said there could be no objection to an independent enquiry into Salwa Judum. They were hearing two Writ Petitions regarding Salwa Judum-one filed by Nandini Sundar, Ramchandra Guha and EAS Sarma and the other by Kartam Joga, Dudhi Joga and Manish Kunjam. The Bench said they were very disturbed by the petitions and that this was a very serious case. The Bench noted that the current policy of the government regarding Salwa Judum amounted to endorsing vigilantism and that such lawlessness cannot be tolerated.

The petitioners reiterated that the Salwa Judum was a state sponsored vigilante force that had been responsible for extreme violence in Dantewada and Bijapur districts, Chhattisgarh, and for forcing people into camps. The counsel for the petitioners, Mr. Ashok Desai and Mr. T. R. Andhyarujina, argued that there were already independent reports, which contained a scathing critique of Salwa Judum, such as the report of the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights and the Administrative Reforms Commission. The Bench gave the petitioners permission to file an application seeking an independent enquiry with particulars. The next hearing was fixed for the 15th of April 2008.

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