The Chhattisgarh government has informed the Supreme Court that it has disbanded and disarmed the tribals who were deployed as special police officers (SPOs) in anti-Naxal operations in the state and assured that all of them would be incorporated in the police force.
In an affidavit, the Raman Singh government said it has fully complied with the verdict of the apex court in which it had directed to disband the SPOs.
"The state has promulgated 'The Chhattisgarh Auxiliary Armed Police Force Ordinance' which was notified on July 28, 2011. In terms of the aforesaid ordinance, every person serving as SPO on the date of this ordinance shall, for a period of six months from the date of this ordinance, be deemed to be a member of Auxiliary Armed Police Force," the affidavit said.
The affidavit, filed by advocate Atul Jha, said that arms and ammunition issued to the SPOs have been recalled and they have not been used in any anti-Naxal operation after the apex court's verdict.
"It is submitted that SPOs have not been deployed in any of the operations against the Maoists ever since the order. Arms and ammunition issued to the SPOs have been recalled. All further deployment and duties of the members of Auxiliary Armed Police Force shall hereafter be in strict compliance with the provisions of the ordinance," it said.
Coming down heavily on the Chhattisgarh government for involving vigilante group Salwa Judum in fighting Maoists, the Supreme Court had restrained it and the Centre from arming SPOs, calling the 5,000-strong force as "unconstitutional".
Asking the state and the Centre to desist from appointing tribals as SPOs and arming them for countering Naxals in any manner directly or indirectly, the court had said the appointment of tribal youths as SPOs was "unconstitutional".
The court had passed the order on a petition filed by sociologist Nandini Sundar, historian Ramachandra Guha, former bureaucrat EAS Sarma and others.