By LE Staff

Kolkata, July 2, 2021: There is enough evidence to establish that violence broke out in West Bengal in May following the Assembly elections, but the state government is in “denial mode” about it, the Calcutta High Court said on Friday.

The High Court ordered the West Bengal police to register cases of all the victims of post-poll violence in the state. The court has also asked the state government to ensure proper medical assistance and ration to all post-poll violence victims. It also directed Chief Secretary Harikrishna Dwivedi to compile all documents related to post-poll violence for future legal correspondence.

A second autopsy of BJP leader Abhijit Sarkar who was allegedly killed in the post-poll violence has also been ordered by the court.

Observing that the state had been caught “on the wrong foot”, the judges said, “The state is in denial mode”.

Acknowledging incidents of sexual violence on women and minors, the court sent a show cause notice to a senior police officer for failing to assist a National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) team that came to probe the allegations.

“The state must respond to queries by NHRC. Chief Secretary must preserve all sensitive documents on post-poll violence,” the court ordered.

“From a perusal of the report prima facie stand taken by the petitioners is established that there had been post poll violence and the State was found on a wrong foot, where throughout it was on a denial mode. In violence, a number of persons were killed. Many suffered sexual violence and grievous injuries. Even minor girls were not spared. They have been brutally assaulted sexually,” the high court said.

It further said, “Properties of many of them were damaged and a number of them were forced to leave their houses and even migrate to neighbouring states. Till date the State has not been able to create an atmosphere that could build confidence of the sufferers to return back to their homes or carry on their occupation. The complaints of most of them were not recorded by the police or cross cases were forced against them.”

The court’s remarks come a day after Supreme Court issued notices to the Centre, the West Bengal government, and the Election Commission of India on a plea seeking SIT investigation into the causes of post-poll violence in West Bengal, Bar and Bench reported.

A committee constituted by the chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission had submitted a report before the Calcutta High Court on cases of alleged human rights violations in post-poll violence in West Bengal.

For two months now, the BJP has alleged that the state has been soft on curbing post-poll violence that especially targeted its supporters and leaders following their defeat in the polls against the ruling Trinamool Congress.

The West Bengal government has said the reports have been greatly exaggerated, with fake videos and images, and most of the incidents of violence that took place around the May 2 counting day happened when the state police was under the control of the Election Commission of India.

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