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Sunday, July 25, 2021

Allegations of state complicity in violence false: Bengal to Supreme Court

The West Bengal government also said that not all incidents of violence can be categorised as “post-poll violence”.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: June 15, 2021 8:41:57 am
The Supreme Court of India has said that it would hear Indian Union Muslim League's plea after two weeks. (File)

Acknowledging reports about people being displaced from their homes in the wake of violence that followed the declaration of Assembly election results in West Bengal, the TMC government has, however, told the Supreme Court that allegations that the state machinery was complicit in the violence are “false” and “misleading”.

The state government said this in its reply to a notice issued by the top court on a PIL seeking its intervention “to stop” the “post-poll violence”, an SIT probe into the alleged crimes and for compensating and rehabilitating those “internally displaced” due to the violence.

The reply said that the petitioners “have falsely alleged the State Machinery as being complicit in such violence on the basis of hearsay reports and concocted stories disseminated on social media by miscreants”.

The state also said that not all incidents of violence can be categorised as “post-poll violence”.

It said “the instant petition filed in the guise of a PIL… highlights the reported incident of internally displaced person(s) from the State of West Bengal to the State of Assam, and other reported instances where residents were forced to flee away from their homes, as a result of “post-poll” violence. However, it is untenable to categorize each and every act of violence followed by the declaration of election results as “post-poll violence” while adopting a premise that such violence is ongoing in the State of West Bengal to which the State Machinery has turned a blind eye. In this regard, It is most respectfully submitted that this petition is politically motivated and purely filed to mislead this Hon’ble Court on the actual circumstances with regard to the law and order situation in West Bengal”.

The plea, it contended, “reeks of political motivation by adopting a misleading narrative and show that the State Administration is complicit with the wrong-doers in the alleged incidents of violence” and added that “it was because of the timely intervention of the State Administration that the law & order situation in West Bengal was restored to normality”.

It said that some of the petitioners “who claim to be victims… have broadly alleged that the instances of violence in the State was sponsored by the State Administration through their inaction in controlling or suppressing the violence”.

Such allegations, the state said, “are frivolous and politically motivated”.

It also said that petitioners should not have approached the SC before exhausting their remedy available before the HC under Article 226 writ jurisdiction.

Moreover, a five-judge bench of the Calcutta HC “is already adjudicating multiple PIL(s) covering a wide gamut of issues arising from the alleged incidents of post-poll violence in the State including the state and well being of internally displaced persons in the State of West Bengal” and “has been passing effective orders since 07.05.2021 and granting appropriate relief to the aggrieved persons”.

The reply affidavit also outlined steps taken by the West Bengal Police and Kolkata Police to accept complaints related to breach of law and order.

The state claimed there was a stream of fake news and morphed videos concerning the scenario of post-poll violence in West Bengal on social media platforms and said “most of such fake news/videos were intended to instigate communal disharmony and polarisation” and that law enforcement agencies took steps to curb the spread of such fake news to limit the influence of misinformation on the public.

It urged the SC not to intervene in the matter as the HC is seized of the issue, and given that the state machinery has taken active steps to address the concerns raised in the petition.

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