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HRLN gets landmark judgment in the case of Salwa Judum, a militia that burned over 650 tribal villages

(Representative picture)
Date : 05/07/2011

Writ Petition (CIVIL) NO. 250 OF 2007

Nandini Sundar & Ors. Versus State of Chhattisgarh.

The Petitioner has filed a writ petition who is a Dr. Nandini Sunder, a professor of Sociology at Delhi School of Economics, along with others. The petitioners have alleged, inter-alia, widespread violation of human rights of people of Dantewada District, and its neighboring areas in the State of Chhattisgarh, on account of the ongoing armed Maoist/Naxalite insurgency, and the counter-insurgency offensives launched by the Government of Chattisgarh. In this regard, it was also alleged that the State of Chattisgarh was actively promoting the activities of a group called “Salwa Judum”, which was in fact an armed civilian vigilante group, thereby further exacerbating the ongoing struggle, and was leading to further widespread violation of human rights.

State government supported and formed a militia called Salwa Judum in 2005 which was declared anti-constitutional by Supreme Court in 2011. This militia has burned down more than 650 tribal villages and emptied them out.

More than 350000 Tribals were forced to displace by same militia.
Large scale mass killings took place during attacks on tribal population by this militia.
Large numbers of rapes were committed by militia and security forces.
State government provides impunity to the members of the militia and other forces.
Tribals find no forum which could redress their grievances.
This case represents a yawning gap between the promise of principled exercise of power in a constitutional democracy, and the reality of the situation in Chhattisgarh, where the Respondent, the State of Chhattisgarh, claims that it has a constitutional sanction to perpetrate, indefinitely, a regime of gross violation of human rights in a manner, and by adopting the same modes, as done by Maoist/Naxalite extremists. The State of Chhattisgarh also claims that it has the powers to arm, with guns, thousands of mostly illiterate or barely literate young men of the tribal tracts, who appointed as temporary police officers, with little or no training, and even lesser clarity about the chain of command to control the activities of such a force, to fight the battles against alleged Maoist extremists.

The Honorable Supreme Court has given its order & directions to the Central Bureau of Investigation to immediately take over the investigation of, and taking appropriate legal actions against all individuals responsible for:

The incidents of violence alleged to have occurred, in March 2011, in the three villages, Morpalli, Tadmetla and Timmapuram, all located in the Dantewada District or its neighboring areas;
The incidents of violence alleged to have been committed against Swami Agnivesh, and his companions, during their visit to State of Chattisgarh in March 2011.
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