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Withdraw troops from schools, apex court tells Chhattisgarh

Tuesday January 18, 2011 08:43:42 PM, IANS

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Tuesday directed the Chhattisgarh government to get vacated within four months all schools, educational institutions and hostels being used as camps by security forces fighting the Maoists in Dantewada and Bijapur districts.

Taking note of the submission made by senior counsel Harish Salve that displaced tribals living in relief camps would be rehabilitated in their villages, the court asked the state government to file an affidavit giving details of the plan.

Salve, who appeared for the state government, said that the affidavit would give details of the rehabilitation package and the possible time frame for disbanding the relief camps, also known as "Salwa Judum" camps.

The apex court bench of Justice B. Sudershan Reddy and Justice S.S. Nijjar gave the government time till Feb 3 to file the affidavit and listed the case for Feb 24.

The court recorded that there was consensus on the disbanding of the Salwa Judum - state-sponsored vigilante group - and withdrawal of security forces lodged in the schools and hostels. The court noted that already the process of its withdrawal has started.

The court also recorded the submission by senior counsel Ashok Desai, appearing for one of the petitioners Delhi University professor Nandini Sunder, that the compensation had only been paid to victims of Maoist violence and not to those who suffered the brunt of violence by Salwa Judum activists.

The court earlier asked Desai if it (the court) could pass an order directing the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh to keep off the suggested "independent committee" of experts to monitor the implementation of the tribals' rehabilitation package and payment of compensation in the Maoist-hit areas.

The court's query came in the wake of submission by Desai that an independent committee having four members from the central government, four from the state government and four independent people along with two petitioners be set up to monitor the implementation of the rehabilitation and compensation package for the victims of violence.

"Given the constitutional scheme of things, can court give directions of this nature to the chief minister," asked the court.

The court said that acceding to such a plea "would result in serious and disastrous consequences" to the functioning of the state apparatus.

Rejecting the petitioner's plea, Salve said he was opposed to the suggestion on accounts of its "nature and quality".

He said that to deal with the problem what was required was to build "vibrant institutions" like a state human rights commission where people could move for redressal of their grievances.

Salve made it clear that the government would extend all support to any mechanism that is devised by the court for monitoring the rehabilitation of the tribals.








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