A day after the Supreme Court rapped the state government for using tribals as special police officers (SPOs), the Maoist threat loomed large among the ranks.
The SPOs alleged the petitioners were ignorant of the 'volatile' ground situation. "When they (Maoists) don't spare villagers, what remains for us could be anybody's guess," said Sargam Singa (25) in Tonkpal, Dantewada.
Though most of them put up a brave face, saying they would continue their fight against Maoists in a peaceful manner, an unsettling feeling was quite obvious. "We will continue our fight in the Gandhian way of convincing people to follow non-violence," said Soyam Mukka, an SPO in Sukma, Dantewada.
The SPOs are now awaiting the state government's decision on their fate. The Sethia group of SPOs and Koya commandos chief Devdhar Sethia and the Dantewada-based Salwa Judum Sukma-Konta block president Soyam Mukka plan a meeting soon to discuss their future course of action.
Koya commando Markam Mudraj (30) even took on the state government. "The government should have judiciously argued our case in the court."
A batch that completed a re-orientation programme on jungle warfare on Wednesday was unaware about the court's verdict. The director of Kanker-based College of Jungle Warfare and Counter Insurgency, Brigadier (rtd) BK Ponwar, however, said, "Being local they can give valuable intelligence inputs, logistics support and guide forces in inhospitable terrain."
BJP on SC order
New Delhi: A day after the Supreme Court termed the arming of private individuals as special police officers (SPOs) to take on Naxals illegal, the BJP termed the verdict a "setback to national security".
"While the BJP is studying the Supreme Court judgment on naxalism, it is a setback to the national security," said BJP spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain. "The morale of Naxals has been high. The nation is worried over naxalism and terrorism."