A house ransacked in political clashes, in West Bengal (ANI)
KOLKATA: The Calcutta high court on Friday formed a five-judge bench to hear a PIL on post-poll violence in Bengal and asked the state government to file a report “specifying the areas where violence has taken place and steps taken to prevent or control it.”
The HC wanted to know “the latest status of law-and-order situation in the state” when it would hear the matter again next Monday.
One of the two PILs also brought up the issue of fake images being posted on social media to foment communal riots. Petitioner Anindya Sundar Das’s advocate, Uday Shankar Chatterjee, argued post-poll violence was not new to Bengal but this time there was an attempt to instigate communal riots.
The court felt there was a need to “constitute a larger bench… considering that life and liberty of people in Bengal” were at stake.
The five-member bench comprises acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justices IP Mukerji, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen and Subrata Talukdar. State advocate-general Kishore Dutta opposed the petition, saying that a new government had taken charge barely two days ago and had already taken several steps to stem the violence. Dutta then sought an adjournment to file an affidavit by the state home secretary.
State additional solicitor-general Y J Dastoor, who represented the Centre, too, opposed the petition, claiming it was not maintainable. He also disputed the allegations of instigation of communal riots.
The state government has blamed ill-considered transfers of senior police officers and their replacement with “incompetent officers” by the Election Commission for the situation. Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee on Thursday announced Rs 2 lakh compensation for the next of kin of the 16 people who died in the last few days.
The development in court coincided with the visit of a four-member Union home ministry team to Bengal “to assess the ground situation” following the announcement of poll results on May 2.