SC notice to Centre, EC & Bengal govt over post-poll violence probe

The Supreme Court on Thursday sought a response from the Centre and the Election Commission on a plea for a court-monitored SIT probe into post-poll violence in West Bengal.

A bench comprising of Justices Vineet Saran and Dinesh Maheshwari issued notice to the Centre, the poll panel, and also to the West Bengal government on a petition filed by Lucknow-based advocate Ranjana Agnihotri and another person.

Advocate Hari Shankar Jain, representing the petitioners, argued that as many as 15 BJP workers or sympathizers were murdered and women were abducted and raped during post-poll violence after the ruling TMC won the Assembly elections on May 2.

“The government, officers, officials, the administration and the police are supporting those political workers of TMC, due to which the life, liberty, prestige, dignity, and modesty of women are being taken away as is evident from the fact that a number of persons have been harmed, butchered, mercilessly murdered, and the girls and women have been raped and no steps have been taken for their safety”, said the plea filed through advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain.

The plea said as a result of violence, loot, killings, and terror, Hindus were forced to leave their villages en masse, similar to the mass exodus of Hindus from Kashmir in 1990. The petitioners also sought compensation for the victims.

The plea alleged that thousands of citizens mostly Hindus were being targeted by Muslims as revenge for supporting the BJP. “In these circumstances, the immediate intervention of the Court is required and the Court may issue a command to the opposite parties so that the Government of West Bengal functions in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and in case of continued violation, the Government of India may be directed to take appropriate action under Article 355 and 356 of the Constitution”, added the plea.

The petitioners contended that despite the atmosphere of “terror, turmoil, fear, unrest, and suppression of Hindus”, unfortunately, the Centre only observed the ritual of asking for a report without any follow-up action.

The petition sought a direction to the Centre and state to rehabilitate those forced to migrate to Assam and deploy armed forces or paramilitary to restore normalcy.

Last week, the high court had dismissed a petition by the West Bengal government to recall the June 18 order in which a five-judge bench of the High Court had directed the chairperson of the NHRC to constitute a committee to examine all the cases of alleged human rights violations during post-poll violence.

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