‘Ongoing post-poll violence’ in Bengal worries Calcutta HC
A special five-judge bench of Calcutta High Court led by Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal on Friday expressed dissatisfaction over the “ongoing post-poll violence” in Bengal and “indifferent attitude of both the state government and State Legal Services Authority” in dealing with the issue.
The bench directed the chairman of the National Human Rights Commission to set up a committee and send it to Bengal to inquire into the post-poll violence and file a report before the court by June 30. The court asked the NHRC to ensure that the member secretary of the State Legal Services Authority was included as a member of the panel.
“The state government and the State Legal Services Authority are directed to provide all short of assistance to the members of the committee by the National Human Rights Commission,” the judge in their order added.
The order followed two petitions by advocates Anindya Sunder Das and Priyanka Tibrewal seeking the court’s intervention in incidents of post-poll violence, which according to the petitioners, had claimed several lives.
While the BJP claims there have been 41 deaths in post-poll violence in Bengal between May 2 and June 17, sources at Nabanna said a total of 16 people had died between May 2 and 4.
“Eight victims were from Trinamul, while seven belonged to the BJP. One victim was a supporter of the ISF,” said a source at the state secretariat.
A senior government official said there might have been some other incidents of violence in the state since, but none was a political clash. “So, the victims, if any, were not counted among those who died under post-poll result violence,” he said.
The petitions came up for hearing in mid-May and the court had asked the State Legal Services Authority to form a committee with representatives from state home department, state legal aid services, a member of NHRC and national legal aid services. The committee was mandated to help persons rendered homeless following the announcement of poll results on May 2 to return home. The court has now directed the NHRC chairman to set up a panel to look into the complaints.
On Friday, when the matter came up for hearing again before the court, advocate Tibrewal said post poll-violence was still continuing in the state and a large number of BJP activists were yet to return home.
“The state government is denying the fact before the court,” Acting Chief Justice Bindal remarked while issuing the order.