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Birbhum Massacre: Calcutta High Court orders state govt to submit status report on probe by tomorrow, orders protection of evidence and witnesses

The court ordered that the crime scene must be continuously monitored through CCTV cameras, and witnesses must be provided security by police

After taking sou-motu cognizance of the Birbhum massacre in West Bengal, the Calcutta High Court has issued directions to the state government to ensure proper probe of the case. Taking up the matter today afternoon, the court asked the state government to submit the case diary and a report on the investigation so far by tomorrow.

A bench of Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj issued the orders, asking to submit the case diary and report by 2 PM tomorrow. “We at the first instance give an opportunity to the State to produce the case diary/ report about the investigation by tomorrow 2 PM. Report relating to investigation done until now to be produced by 2 PM on 24 March,” the bench said.

The court also issued directions for protection of evidence and the crime scene. The court ordered that the scene must be continuously monitored through CCTV cameras. The court directed the state govt to “immediately install CCTV cameras with DVR having sufficient memory covering all angles of scene of occurrence and will do continuous recording until further orders.” Cameras will have to be installed in the presence of the District Judge of Purba Bardhaman district.

The Calcutta High Court directed that a team from CFSL in Delhi will visit the site to collect forensic evidence. The order said that the evidence will have to be collected without any delay.

The bench also asked the DGP and the IGP to ensure the protection of witnesses in the case. “Director General of Police and Inspector General of Police in consultation with District Judge, Purba Bardhaman district should ensure that witnesses are adequately protected and not threatened or influenced by anyone,” the court order said.

While postmortem of the victims has been already done, the court said that if any postmortem examination is yet to be that, the same should be done under video recording.

The High Court had taken up the matter after initiating a suo motu case, along with some PILs filed by some individuals after 8 persons were killed in retaliation to the alleged murder of a TMC leader. The individuals who have approached the court have demanded a CBI probe, saying that the SIT formed by the state govt is not impartial.

Birbhum massacre

At least eight people were charred to death after unidentified miscreants set a dozen houses on fire. The incident took place in the Rampurhat area in the Birbhum district of West Bengal on Tuesday.

As per reports, the miscreants locked the houses outside before setting them ablaze, leaving no room for the occupants to vacate. The incident took place after the killing of a Trinamool Congress (TMC) functionary named Bhadu Sheikh on Monday.

At least 20 people have been arrested so far in connection with the violence. While CM Mamata Banerjee has promised an impartial probe in the case, she tried to dilute the incident by saying such incidents are more common in other states like UP, Bihar, Rajasthan etc. She also accused the opposition of using the incident to defame the state.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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