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Ensure return of poll violence victims by Tuesday: Cal HC

The Calcutta High Court on Friday directed the West Bengal Government to take steps to ensure that people displaced due to post-poll violence in the State return to their homes by Tuesday. It directed the police to keep a strict vigil in the areas where violence had taken place and ensure that such incidents do […]

Calcutta HC
Calcutta HC

The Calcutta High Court on Friday directed the West Bengal Government to take steps to ensure that people displaced due to post-poll violence in the State return to their homes by Tuesday. It directed the police to keep a strict vigil in the areas where violence had taken place and ensure that such incidents do not recur. The court also directed that Central forces would remain in the State till June 26. Earlier, the forces were to remain in the State till June 21.

The directives were issued by a Division Bench presided over by Justice Harish Tandon while hearing petitions regarding allegations of violence in West Bengal after the Lok Sabha elections.
“Several complaints on this count have surfaced before, and fresh complaints are surfacing every day. We want to have a clear picture of the scenario. We want the displaced to return to their homes by next Tuesday. The police need to be more active in those pockets where complaints continue to surface,” the Bench observed.

Lawyer-petitioner Priyanka Tibrewal, in an affidavit submitted before the court, gave a list of people displaced from their homes and of those whose houses were looted. “Though my affidavit has details of only about 400 people who have been displaced and about 100 cases of houses being looted, the actual number across the State is many times more,” Tibrewal told The Daily Guardian.

Tibrewal, who is a lawyer and a BJP leader, and the Leader of the Opposition in West Bengal Assembly Suvendu Adhikari, in their separate PILs, alleged that activists of a particular political party were being subjected to atrocities following the Lok Sabha election process.

The Calcutta High Court Division Bench, headed by Justice Harish Tandon, reviewed the situation amidst numerous petitions concerning post-Lok Sabha election violence in the State. The Court also suggested that, if necessary, the State could take the help of Priyanka Tibrewal, “who has all the information and can be the contact person to get to those affected by the violence.”

This followed the State’s Advocate-General Kishore Dutta’s revelation that from June 4, when the Lok Sabha election results were declared, till June 18, a total of 859 complaints have been received through email by the Director-General of Police’s (DGP) office. He stated that out of these, 204 complaints constituted cognisable offences and FIRs had been registered. Dutta said that 175 complaints relating to non-cognisable cases have been registered. The AG stated that 219 were duplicate complaints, 26 were incomplete while 14 were under scrutiny.

The Bench, which also comprised Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharyya, observed that serious allegations have been made with regard to violence in the State following the elections, hence the continuation of the deployment of Central forces in such a scenario was “inevitable”.
Dutta submitted that 10 to 12 or even 20 complaints a day with regard to cognisable cases throughout the State does not depict a picture that the State police is unable to handle the situation, but was overruled.

Meanwhile, the West Bengal Governor, CV Ananda Bose, wrote to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee asking her to take immediate steps to stop poll-related violence in the State.
The Trinamool Congress dismissed the idea that any BJP worker had been forced to flee their home following violence and threats.

“The violence is taking place between followers of the old and newly inducted leaders of the BJP and the Trinamool Congress has nothing to do with it,” said Trinamool Congress spokesperson Kunal Ghosh.
The BJP refused to lend much credence to the Governor’s letter. “He keeps on writing or opening peace rooms and issuing sermons, but nobody listens to him,” said Shankar Ghosh, the BJP’s MLA from Siliguri.

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Bengal Panchayat poll violenceCalcutta High CourtPOLL VIOLENCEWest Bengal government