HE Calcutta High Court has asked the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to constitute a committee to examine all the complaints of post-poll violence in West Bengal that resulted in human rights violations and loss of lives and property.
The court said on Friday the NHRC-appointed committee would have to examine all the complaints, perhaps by visiting the affected areas and submit a comprehensive report about the prevailing situation and the steps that will need to be taken to instil confidence in people that they can peacefully live in their homes and carry on their occupation or business to earn their livelihood.
“The persons prima facie responsible for the crime and the officers who maintained a calculated silence on the issue, be pointed out. A representative from the State Human Rights Commission, West Bengal also be associated by the National Human Rights Commission,” the court directed.
The court also warned of contempt of court action if any obstruction of any kind was caused to the NHRC’s committee in carrying out its investigations.
A five-judge bench of Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justices I.P. Mukerji, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen and Subrata Talukdar said the state from the very beginning had been denying everything but the facts as had been placed on record by the petitioners and as is evident from the report of June 3, 2021, filed by the Member Secretary of the West Bengal State Legal Services Authority, were different.
The court was considering a batch of petitions alleging migration, loss of livelihood, death on account of post-poll violence.
The Member Secretary of the West Bengal State Legal Services Authority tabulated the complaints in six different categories:
- property vandalised/ looted/ damaged by miscreants,
- threat by miscreants as a result of which the applicant(s) are out of his/their house and requires to be reinstated,
- assault/sexual assault by miscreants,
- grabbing/encroaching of property by miscreants,
- shop/business forcefully closed by miscreants and
- demand of ransom by miscreants.
In the table attached to the report, regarding the complaints received till noon on June 10, 2021, it was mentioned that the number of persons who had reported themselves to be victims was 3,243. He further mentioned that in many cases the complaints were referred to the concerned Superintendent of Police or the police stations but no response had been received.
Several pleas have also been filed in the Supreme Court seeking an SIT or CBI probe into the incidents of post-poll violence.