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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Bengal govt moves Calcutta HC, seeks recall of order on post-poll violence

On Friday, the Calcutta High Court had pulled up the Bengal government for taking “no concrete steps” to curb the disturbances and ordered the National Human Rights Commission to constitute a committee for visits to violence-hit areas.

By: Express Web Desk | Kolkata |
Updated: June 21, 2021 1:10:42 pm
Mamata BanerjeeChief Minister Mamata Banerjee has said allegations that post-poll violence is still continuing in the state are “baseless” and a “gimmick” by the BJP. (File photo)

Days after the Calcutta High Court asked the National Human Rights Commission to constitute a committee to examine all alleged human rights abuses during the post-poll violence in West Bengal, the state government has filed an application seeking recall of the order.

The application has been listed for hearing on Monday before a five-judge bench — comprising Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Jindal, Justice Indra Prasanna Mukherjee, Justice Soumen Sen, Justice Harish Tandon and Justice Subrata Talukder —which passed the order two days ago after taking into account the PILs on post-poll violence.

On Friday, the Calcutta High Court had pulled up the state government for taking “no concrete steps” against post-poll violence and ordered the National Human Rights Commission to constitute a committee for visits to violence-hit areas. It also asked the rights body to file a report by June 30.

The bench was hearing a plea filed by BJP’s Priyanka Tibrewal, who lost in the Assembly polls from Entally in Kolkata. Alleging that a number of people had fled their homes to save their life during the post-poll violence, she had sought the HC’s intervention to ensure safe return of the families. The court had also many received similar complaints on post-poll violence.

Citing affidavits filed by petitioners, the court expressed concern that people who had returned home were compelled to withdraw complaints.

“In our view, this exercise of filing of affidavit and counter affidavit will continue. It may not lead us anywhere because State from the very beginning had been denying everything, but the facts… are different,” the HC had said.

The HC has asked the chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission to constitute a committee, of which the member secretary of State Legal Services Authority (SLSA) will be a member, to examine all the allegations of post-poll violence in the state.

The state government, in its application, has prayed for an opportunity to deal with a report by the member secretary of the SLSA on the matter before the next date of hearing, and make submissions on the steps taken by it on such complaints of clashes and violence.

The government also prayed that the findings in the order of June 18 “against the state of West Bengal and/or its officers may be expunged”. It claimed that the order had been passed without giving the state an opportunity to file its response in connection with the SLSA member secretary’s report.

The state also prayed for a stay of operations given in the order till the disposal of the PILs.

Earlier, the state government, in its reply to a notice issued by the Supreme Court on a PIL, had said allegations that the state machinery was complicit in the violence are “false” and “misleading”. 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”.

Stating that not all incidents of violence can be categorised as “post-poll violence”, the government further said that some of the allegations “are frivolous and politically motivated” and 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”.

Recently, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said allegations that post-poll violence is still continuing in the state are “baseless” and a “gimmick” by the BJP. Addressing reporters at Nabanna, the CM said, “They (BJP) talk about violence. Do you see any violence in Bengal? Some incidents took place during the election, but the Election Commission was in charge of law and order at the time. We condemn violence. However, this claim of political violence is a BJP gimmick. They should talk about UP where the dead bodies are floating in rivers.”

Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar recently met Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi to brief him about the post-poll violence in the state.

The Governor, who accused the Bengal government of turning a blind eye to these incidents, had also released a letter he had written to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on the disturbances in the state.

Earlier, a BJP delegation led by Suvendu Adhikari, the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, had met Dhankhar and expressed concern over the law-and-order situation in the state. The delegation handed over a memorandum to the Governor, highlighting incidents in Tiljala and Chandannagar, and how “17,000 BJP workers” were still forced to stay away from their home out of fear.

(With inputs from PTI)

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