Even as the supporters and members of the victorious Trinamool Congress Party are accused of unleashing post-poll violence in West Bengal following the results of assembly elections, the Calcutta High Court on Monday lauded the state government’s efforts to stop the violence. After being informed by the state govt that there had no incidents of violence reported since Sunday, the five-judge bench on Monday appreciated the TMC-led state government and told it to “keep up” its work.
The Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court, acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal observed that fault-finding can be relegated to the future, adding that both the state and the central government should come together to maintain peace now that a new state government was in place.
The five-judge bench, comprising ACJ Bindal and Justices IP Mukerji, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen and Subrata Talukdar, also sought the Centre’s response to the state government affidavit and will hear the case again on May 18. The report submitted by the state home secretary to the HC on post-poll violence said there were 15 “violent incidents”, leading to 16 deaths, till May 3, an official said.
The West Bengal government told the Calcutta High Court that there was no post-poll violence in West Bengal after the recently conducted state elections which saw the Mamata Banerjee regime retaining power. The next hearing for all PILs regarding the WB post-poll violence in the Calcutta HC is scheduled for next Tuesday on May 18.
On May 5, the day the new government was sworn in, six political clashes took place but no death. There was no death on May 6 and May 7 and, on May 8, there was one death in Birbhum’s Khairasol. As per the state government, there was not a single incident of violence since Sunday(May 9).
So far, 400 people have been arrested, including 72 for crimes like murder and arson, and 34 FIRs had been drawn up against fake news (five of them in Kolkata). Kishore Dutta, state advocate general, assured the court that all possible measures would be taken to stem the violence. However, additional solicitor general YJ Dastoor tried to extenuate TMC’s role in the violence by submitting in the court that it was not just one party highlighting “post-poll violence”, and that all parties that fought the poll had made similar allegations.
Post-poll violence in West Bengal
Post-poll violence has become a leitmotif of news emerging out of Bengal following the declaration of results. Umpteen number of violence against political opponents have been reported from the state. In an overwhelming number of such incidents, the victims have been BJP supporters and workers while the accused were said to be the supporters of the TMC party. More than 7 BJP workers have lost their lives in the post-poll violence that ensued following the victory of the TMC party in the assembly elections.
The violence unleashed against them forced hundreds of BJP party workers and supporters to flee their villages along with their families. They crossed over to Assam where they have been provided temporary shelter under supervision by minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. It is not just the BJP but even CPI(M) which has accused the TMC of killing its workers. Reports of attacks on BSF jawans have also emerged in the media.