THIS is not for the first time that a state government has tried to drag the observation of the Supreme Court into controversy on the plea that it was an obiter dicta; an observation, which is not a judgement. nor even part of the order-sheet of case. No doubt it was an oral observation but the apex court on Monday while indicted the Chhatisgarh government for arming civilians with the sole intention of killing other civilians, it also sought to know from it the legal status of the Salwa Judum movement. Irrespective of the position held by the state government and its police on the apex court observation, the fact is this has exposed the state governmentâ€™s claim about the fairness in letting masses take the law into their hands. What is significant is the Bench comprising of the Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice Aftab Alam also observed that the state could not distribute arms to individuals in the name of countering insurgency as this amounted to abatement of crime and agreed to the demand of the human rights group for an inquiry into the operations of Salwa Judum. It is indeed a matter of shame that the state police chief instead of taking the observation of the apex court in right spirit was indulging in the blame game and was resorting to white lies by denouncing the existence of Salwa Judum training camps. But the fact is the political executives of the states have been going around boasting of the achievements and striking power of the Salwa Judum. The state government instead of hiding behind the facade legal jargons, should ensure that civil society does not disintegrate. Arming the people to fight the naxalite is the right panacea. The government must allow the democratic system to function effectively and at the same time should ensure that benefits of the development reach to the rural poor and corruption is weeded out at the micro level.
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