A seven-member panel of the National Human Rights Commission on Wednesday submitted to the Calcutta High Court its report on complaints related to the post-poll violence in West Bengal in May, Live Law reported.
Subir Sanyal, the National Human Rights Commission’s lawyer, told the court that the report was brief for now and sought more time for the panel to visit all violence-affected places and submit a comprehensive document. He added that the committee had so far visited 163 homes.
The High Court bench comprising acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justices IP Mukerji, Soumen Sen, Harish Tandon and Subrata Talukdar said they needed time to read the report and adjourned the hearing to July 2. “We have opened the report,” Bindal said, according to Live Law. “Before we pass any order, we feel it appropriate to go through the report along with annexures.”
The panel, led by National Human Rights Commission member Rajiv Jain, was formed on June 21 to examine all post-poll violence cases. National Commission for Minorities Vice President Atif Rasheed and National Commission for Women member Rajulben L Desai are among its members.
Members of the panel were split into two teams to cover districts in north and south Bengal, according to the Hindustan Times.
On Tuesday, Rasheed was allegedly attacked while touring Jadavpur in Kolkata, according to the newspaper. Rashid Munir Khan, deputy commissioner of police (south suburban) said a group of people shouted slogans during the team’s visit to the area. “Some of the agitators were apparently under the influence of alcohol,” he added. “Rasheed did not lodge any police complaint. If he files one, we will certainly look into it.”
Violence in Bengal
West Bengal had witnessed a spell of incidents of violence following Assembly 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 Supreme Court is also hearing petitions for an independent inquiry into the violence. The petitioners in the case have alleged that 18 political activists died, women were sexually assaulted and there were incidents of loot, arson and destruction 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.
The petitioners also accused the West Bengal government and the police of inaction and even complicity in the violence. They sought rehabilitation and compensation for those displaced by the violence.
On June 14, the state government had told the Supreme Court that the petitions were misleading and politically motivated. It also refuted accusations of inaction.