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  • 11 February, 2020

  • 3 Min Read

Salwa Judum

Syllabus subtopic:

  • Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
  • Linkages between Development and Spread of Extremism.

Prelims and Mains focus: about the case; salwa judum; about NHRC: composition and powers

News: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has accused state officials of the Chhattisgarh government of ‘abetting’ the crimes allegedly committed by Special Police Officers as part of Salwa Judum’s anti-Maoist activities in the state.


According to the complaint, filed by human rights organisation People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), seven people were killed and 95 houses were torched by SPOs in the three villages, leading to other villagers abandoning their homes and fleeing. When they returned in 2013, the villagers filed a complaint with the Sukma collector in July 2013. The NHRC requested them to provide information.

What is Salwa Judum?

  • Salwa Judum (meaning "Peace March" or "Purification Hunt" in Gondi language) was a militia that was mobilised and deployed as part of anti-insurgency operations in Chhattisgarh, India, aimed at countering Naxalite violence in the region.

  • It started in 2005 as a state sponsored vigilante movement against the Naxalites, a far-left movement with Maoist ideology in some states in rural India that is designated by India as a terrorist organisation on account of their violent activities. The movement later received bi-partisan support from both the ruling and opposition parties.

  • In 2008, Chhattisgarh along with neighbouring Jharkhand accounted for over 65% of the total Naxal violence in the country. Chhattisgarh state had trained a number of 'Special Police Officers' or SPOs (also commonly referred to as Koya commandos), from amongst the tribals who were part of Salwa Judum

  • The militia, consisting of local tribal youth, received support and training from the Chhattisgarh state government. It has been outlawed and banned by a Supreme Court court order, but continues to exist in the form of Armed Auxiliary Forces, District Reserve Group and other vigilante groups.

  • On 5 July 2011, the Supreme Court of India declared the militia to be illegal and unconstitutional, and ordered its disbanding. The Court directed the Chhattisgarh government to recover all the firearms, ammunition and accessories. The use of Salwa Judum by the government for anti-Naxal operations was criticised for its violations of human rights and poorly trained youth for counter-insurgency roles. It also ordered the government to investigate all instances of alleged criminal activities of Salwa Judum.

  • On 25 May 2013, its founder Mahendra Karma, who had become a senior Congress party leader was killed in a Naxalite attack along with other party members in Darbha Valley of Chhattisgarh, 400 km south of Raipur and 50 km from Jagdalpur.

Source: Indian Express

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