The Supreme Court has issued an order restraining the Chhattisgarh government from recruiting tribal youth in large numbers as ‘special police officers” — a sort of counter-militia against the Maoists.
The SPOs were drawn from the “Salwa Judum” or “Peace March” movement started by the State government in 2005.
There are between 4,000-5,000 such tribal youths who have been accorded the status of SPOs and were being paid Rs 1,500 per month by the state government. The stipend has been increased to Rs 3,000 per month.
The Court held that the appointing and arming of tribals as SPOs is unconstitutional.
The movement has been critcised for human rights violations of their own and for recruiting children as soldiers. According to some reports, many of the SPOs are legally minor of age.
Chhattisgarh is one of the Indian states afflicted with the threat of armed left-wing insurgents who are trying to overthrow the Indian government and establish a new state on communist ideology.