The Supreme Court on Monday questioned the Centre's role in the creation and funding of anti-Naxal armed group of special police officers (SPOs) that are called Koya Commandoes in Chhattisgarh.
During the hearing of a petition filed by social activists seeking disbandoning of Salwa Judum, the bench of justice Sudershan B Reddy and justice SS Nihhar said: "What is the role of the Centre? We have come to know that 80% of the funds for the SPOs come from the Centre."
The bench was anguished on learning that the Chhattisgarh government had failed to abide by its April 7 order to file a detailed affidavit on how the state appointed Koya Commandos to combat naxals. The petitioners have alleged in their affidavit before the court that though the government has “disbandoned” Salwa Judum, it has rechristened the group's SPOs as Koya Commandos.
The bench asked the Centre and state as to how could Koya Commandos or SPOs be given police powers when they did not have training in penal code or procedure.
“The Koya Commandos say they fire in self-defence, but do they have any training in what constitutes self defence. All they know is how to use arms. That is not policing,” the bench said.
It wanted to know for how long the commandos were appointed and whether the Centre supported such groups. “Are there such groups in other states? …. they (centre) give 80% of the funding for this,” the bench said.
The bench was also unhappy with the state not filing a proper response on the action taken by it on the complaint of social activist Swami Agnivesh who was attacked last month.
The bench wanted to know from the state government why the investigation into the incident be not handed over to some independent agency.