Petitions seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry into the post-poll violence in West Bengal in May are misleading and politically motivated, the state government alleged in an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court on Monday, the Hindustan Times reported.
The Supreme Court was hearing two petitions demanding an independent inquiry into the alleged killing of Bharatiya Janata Party workers by those associated with the Trinamool Congress after the results of the Assembly election on May 2.
The petitioners also accused the West Bengal government and the police of inaction and even complicity in the violence, and sought rehabilitation and compensation for those displaced by the violence.
Nirmalya Ghoshal, West Bengal home department additional secretary, informed the court in the affidavit that 22 people were killed in post-poll violence between May 2 and May 9.
Ghoshal pointed out that most of the deaths took place when the West Bengal police were under the Election Commission’s control because of the Model Code of Conduct being in place. “The ECI [Election Commission of India] was in charge of the law and order situation in the state till the MCC [Model Code of Conduct] was lifted,” Ghoshal said.
The official claimed in the affidavit that incidents of violence went down drastically after the Model Code of Conduct was withdrawn and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s government was sworn in on May 5.
The West Bengal government claimed it was being accused of complicity in the violence based on “hearsay reports and concocted stories disseminated on social media by miscreants”, The Indian Express reported.
It also urged the Supreme Court not to intervene in the matter as a five-judge bench of the Calcutta High Court was already hearing petitions related to the violence.
West Bengal had witnessed a spell of incidents of violence following election results on May 2. The Bharatiya Janata Party and the ruling Trinamool Congress blamed each other for the deaths of multiple party workers. Various news reports put the toll between 11 and 14, but the police did not confirm the numbers.
The petitioners in the case alleged that 18 political activists died, sexual violence was committed against women, and acts of loot, arson and destruction took place owing to the indifference of the state government. They sought the deployment of central forces to restore law and order in the state and setting up of a fast-track court.
60-year woman, minor allege rape by Trinamool Congress workers, move SC
A 60-year-old woman and a 17-year-old girl from West Bengal moved the Supreme Court, alleging that Trinamool Congress workers raped them for supporting the BJP, Bar and Bench reported. The complainants accused the state authorities and the police of inaction.
The woman alleged that Trinamool Congress workers forced their way into her house in Khejuri village in Purba Medinipur district on May 4, and raped her in front of her grandson. She also accused the party’s workers of robbing her.
The minor alleged that four Trinamool Congress workers raped her and left her to die in a forest. She accused a party worker of threatening her against filing a complaint. She urged the court to shift the trial in her case outside the state.
“While the history is replete with gruesome instances where rape was employed as a strategy to terrorise enemy civilian population and to demoralise enemy troops, but never have such cruel crimes been committed against a woman citizen for her or her family’s participation in the democratic process,” their application to the Supreme Court read, according to Bar and Bench.