NHRC report says post-poll violence in West Bengal a manifestation of 'law of ruler', recommends CBI probe; Mamata cries ‘political vendetta’

Published : July 16, 2021 08:57 IST

Atif Raseed, Vice Chairman of the National Minorities Commission, meets a victim of alleged post-poll violence, at Gazole in Malda district of West Bengal on July 7. Photo: PTI

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) report on the post-election violence in West Bengal has slammed the Trinamool Congress government. It states, “The spatio-temporal expanse of violent incidents in the State of West Bengal reflect the appalling apathy of the State government towards plight of victims,”. The situation in the State is a manifestation of “Law of Ruler", instead of Rule of Law,” it said. The report, which was submitted to the Calcutta High Court on July 13, recommended that the investigation should be handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and that the trial should take place outside the State. The NHRC also recommended that a “Court monitored SIT (Special Investigation Team) should be formed immediately consisting of senior supervisory IPS officers and others”.

Coming down heavily on the police and the administration, the report stated that “while some organs or personnel of the State government remained mute spectators, some others were apparently complicit” and alleged the existence of a “pernicious politico-bureaucratic-criminal nexus”. According to the report in the cases which were officially registered by the police, “the number of arrests made are very few, in contrast to the large-scale violence and huge number of accused in most cases. Cases have not been investigated on priority and, in many cases, sections invoked are not commensurate to the gravity of offences that occurred.”

It pointed out that out of the 9,304 accused cited in the FIRs, only 1,354 (14 per cent) have been arrested and out of these arrested, 1086 (80 per cent) are already out on bail. “Thus, overall speaking, less than 3 per cent of the accused are in jail, while 97 per cent are out in the open, making a mockery of the whole system,” the report stated.

Reacting angrily to the development, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the violence was a “pre-poll” phenomenon and took place at a time when the Election Commission was in charge of law and order. “They are misleading the people and distorting the facts. When the court will give us the time we will file affidavit and give our opinion to the honourable court,” said Mamata Banerjee. She also raised the issue of the report being made public before the hearing in the court. “We are the government. We have to give our opinion also. The court has also given us time. How could they leak it to the press before that, if it is not out of political vendetta?” She alleged this was a ploy of the BJP to get back at the Trinamool after its humiliating defeat in the recently concluded Assembly election, and to “malign the people of Bengal”.

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