Kolkata, July 16: A Calcutta High Court appointed Committee, in its over 3,000-page report on the post-poll violence in West Bengal, strongly admonished the state administration, saying it was incapable in stopping attacks in the state. It also pointed to a collaboration between the police, party leaders and hooligans, which led to the attacks.
In its 3,428-page report the committee noted that no FIRs were registered in 60% of the cases of post-polll violence. The list of those named include TMC ministers and leaders. On June 21, the National Human Rights Commission constituted a Committee headed by NHRC member Rajiv Jain "to enquire into complaints of post poll violence in West Bengal" on the HC's directions.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has refuted charges against the administration, saying the attacks had happened prior to her taking oath as CM of the state and that law and order was under the Election Commission at the time. Interstingly, the NHRC report, signed by Pradip Kumar Panja, Registrar, West Bengal State Human Rights Commission, cited correspondence with the DG & IGP of West Bengal, G. Virendra, who had commented on the law and order situation in the state.
In its report submitted to the five-judge bench headed by Justice Rajesh Bindal, acting chief justice of the Calcutta High Court, the NHRC advised a CBI enquiry in cases of rape and murder. It also advised that if need be these cases should be shifted outside the state for hearing. A total of twelve cases of rape were cited by the NHRC. Out of the 1,934 incidents of post-poll violence the rate of arrests stands at 2.88 per cent, the report said.
The NHRC has also called for formation of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) under HC supervision. The names of leaders like S.K. Sufian, the CM's election agent in Nandigram, Jyotipriyo Mullick, Minister of Forest, Conventional and Renewable Energy Sources, MLA of Canning East Saokat Molla, MLA Partha Bhowmick, Burdwan MLA Khokan Das and Jahangir Khan, all senior TMC leaders. The police in five districts – Cooch Behar, Baruipur, Birbhum, Bashirhat and Howrah Grameen – was supposedly inactive. In Howrah Grameen only three per cent of the accused named in FIRs were arrested, the number was five per cent in Cooch Behar.
The committee toured the state for 20 days and had been to 311 violence-affected places. It has also noted that in 60% of the incidents of violence no FIR was registered. A total of 1,934 FIRs were filed in the state with 9,340 persons named as accused. Only 14% of the accused have been arrested while 80% have already got bail.
Speaking to Newsclick, noted legal expert and Rajya Sabha MP Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya said that violence has been seen in the state in every election after 2011. "Now when there has been a court-appointed committee they have brought out the facts and realities from the ground.This is a credible report and they are scared it. In many cases even police complaints have not been taken up by their respective stations where such kind of violence took place," he said.