Post-poll violence in West Bengal: PIL in SC seeks deployment of central forces

Petitioner Indic Collective seeks SIT to probe politicians’ role in targeted pogrom

Post-poll violence in West Bengal: PIL in SC seeks deployment of central forces

File photo of the Supreme Court.

Satya Prakash
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, May 4

As TMC supporters allegedly target BJP and other opposition workers in post-poll violence in West Bengal, a PIL in the Supreme Court on Tuesday sought a direction to the Centre to deploy central forces, including armed forces, for restoration of law and order in the state.

The PIL filed by Indic Collective demanded setting up of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by a retired judge of the top court to probe into the alleged “involvement of politicians, if any, in the targeted pogrom in West Bengal”.

“The current state of affairs in West Bengal is so dangerous and wrought with internal disturbance that urgent intervention by this Hon’ble Court and deployment of central forces in the state is the need of the hour,” the PIL submitted.

Filed by advocate Suvidutt Sundaram and settled by advocate J Sai Deepak, the petition urged the court to declare that the constitutional machinery in West Bengal has broken down within the meaning of Article 356 of the Constitution for further consideration by the President.

BJP leader Gaurav Bhatia also moved the Supreme Court seeking a CBI probe into “brutal violence, murders and rapes” allegedly being committed by “TMC goons” in West Bengal.

He sought a direction to the state government to protect BJP workers and supporters being targeted in post poll violence.

The development comes amid reports that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken to West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and sought a report from him over post-poll violence in which several BJP workers have reportedly been killed and a large number of houses have been destroyed or ransacked.

Contending that the violence began after the declaration of election results on May 2, the PIL said, “Members and supporters of the opposing political parties have been brutally murdered, with their houses and personal property being destroyed. There have been instances of heinous crimes including bombing of localities, murders, violations against the modesty of women, riotous looting, kidnapping, arson and destruction of public property.”

Highlighting the instances of gang rape and physical assault against women who supported the BJP, the PIL alleged that due to the deliberate inaction of the state government, “miscreants have turned the state into a complete lawless zone, which demonstrates this was an organised and pre-meditated crime against a targeted group of people who exercised their political choice against the ruling party”.

The PIL sought directions for immediate arrest of and prosecution against all individuals involved and/or responsible for the commission of heinous offences in the aftermath of the assembly elections.

It said a special court should be established to deal with cases pertaining to prosecution of political miscreants and/or any individuals involved in the commission of heinous offences.

The petitioner said the court’s intervention was needed “in view of the widespread violence and disruption of law and order that has erupted in the aftermath of the assembly election, and the failure of the state machinery in protecting the life and liberty of its citizens”.

It said, “The state administration and the police authorities in the state have failed and/or neglected to clamp down on the unruly elements, thereby leading to institutionalised violence and destruction of the democratic fabric of the state.”

Noting that the state administration has failed to restore peace and maintain law and order in the aftermath of the elections despite several pleas and numerous news reports, the PIL submitted that it was imperative that the top court intervened.

 

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