The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Chhattisgarh government to vacate within four months all school buildings occupied by security forces in Naxal-hit areas of the state.
A bench headed by justice B Sudarshan Reddy also sought a comprehensive report from the state on its plan to disband the relief camps providing temporary shelter to tribals.
"Its a question of freedom. Bread and freedom both are important and people must go back to their homes," the bench said while hearing a public interest petition filed by sociologist Nandini Sundar and some other prominent persons seeking a direction to the state to refrain from supporting Salwa Judum.
Salwa Judum i.e. peace march, is an anti-naxal movement in Chhattisgarh started in 2005 by tribal people. Both the Congress and BJP supported it. The state later trained many of them as Special Police Officers (SPOs) to take on naxals.
Sundar and other petitioners accused Chhattisgarh of arming civilians to kills naxals and sought the SC's intervention. But the National Human Rights Commission had virtually given a clean chit to Salwa Judum, except pointing out some cases where men belonging to the organisation had not be booked for violence against innocent tribals.
The state government had denied arming civilians and told the court in February 2009 that Salwa Judum was slowly disappearing in the state. It had also given details of the steps taken by it on the FIRs registered on the basis of the report of NHRC pointing to human rights violations by the members of Salwa Judum.
On behalf of the state, senior counsel Harish Salve described the incidents of tribals being caught in crossfire between Maoists and the police/Salwa Judum as a governance failure.