The Calcutta High Court on Thursday ordered the National Investigation Agency to investigate the violence that erupted in West Bengal during Ram Navami festivities last month, reported Bar and Bench.
On March 30, several vehicles were set ablaze and shops were vandalised in parts of Howrah district during a clash between Hindus and Muslims during a Ram Navami procession. Videos on social media showed men throwing stones and tearing down shops as the police tried to bring the situation under control.
A day later, a fresh flare-up was reported in the district’s Shibpur area after a mob went on the rampage, throwing stones and attacking shops as well as vehicles.
On April 2, clashes again broke out between two groups in Hooghly district during another Ram Navami procession organised by the Bharatiya Janata Party. Similar incidents of violence were also reported from Dalkhola in the North Dinajpur district, reported The Indian Express.
On April 10, the High Court had observed that the violence in Howrah district appears to have been planned and that there was a failure of intelligence gathering by the West Bengal police.
The court had made the observation while hearing a plea filed by BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari seeking a probe by the National Investigation Agency into the violence.
At Thursday’s hearing, a division bench of Acting Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam and Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharyya directed the West Bengal police to hand over the case papers, evidence and all the other material to the central agency.
“We are of the considered opinion that no purpose would be served by directing the state police to register cases against those, who used acid bottles and petrol bombs etc under the Explosive Substances Act,” the High Court noted. “The matter has gone ahead and beyond that stage. Let the NIA probe now.”
The ruling Trinamool Congress and the Opposition BJP have accused each other of inciting the violence.