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Friday, June 18, 2021

Supreme Court seeks Centre, Bengal replies on violence plea

The Supreme Court constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the issue and listed the plea for further hearing in the week starting June 7.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: May 26, 2021 5:36:49 am
SC WB post poll violenceA vacation bench of Justices Vineet Saran and B R Gavai was told by senior advocate Pinky Anand that more than one lakh people have been displaced due to the poll-related violence in West Bengal. (File Photo)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to West Bengal government and the Centre on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking its intervention “to stop” post-poll violence in the state, to order an SIT probe into the alleged crimes and fix liability and for compensating and rehabilitating those “internally displaced” as a result of the violence.

A vacation bench of Justices Vineet Saran and B R Gavai also allowed a request by senior advocate Pinky Anand, who appeared for the petitioners, to make the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), National Commission for Women (NCW), National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST), National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) as additional parties to the petition.

The petitioners, all residents of West Bengal, said violence has been continuing in the state from May 2 and there was “bombing, murder, gangrape, outraging of modesty of women, arson, kidnapping, loot, vandalism and destruction of public property, which led to a widespread fear and terror in the minds of ordinary residents…ultimately, forcing them to leave their homes”.

The plea claimed that “the police and state-sponsored goons are in cahoots because of which the police proves to be a mere spectator in the entire episode, discouraging and threatening victims from filing FIR’s, non-investigation of cases, inaction in incidents where cognizable offences have been committed in presence of the police authorities, non-provision of security to those facing threats to life etc”.

Various media platforms had covered the trail of incidents, and institutions such as NHRC and NCW have either suo moto or on receiving complaints from the victims taken cognizance of the matter and sent out teams to investigate the matter, it stated. However, “no support/assistance was offered from the State Government and even their security was compromised at many instances. They have reported the inaction of the police in providing protection to the women, who were attacked and threatened by the Hooligans and no action was taken by the police officials in this regard” the PIL stated.

Those “internally displaced” due to these circumstances “are forced to stay in shelter homes/camps in and outside West Bengal”, it said. The PIL added that the “exodus of people…has posed serious humanitarian issues related to their survival, where they are forced to live in deplorable conditions, in violation of their fundamental rights enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.”

The court will now hear the matter after two weeks.

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