New Delhi: Blaming ‘state terror’ for political violence in West Bengal, a group of citizens has written to President Ram Nath Kovind. In the letter the citizens have called for a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe monitored by a retired Supreme Court judge for a fair investigation and speedy justice.
They referred to the ‘targeted political killings’ and violence after the West Bengal assembly elections. They also criticised the ‘deficient and inappropriate’ response of the local administration and police. They demanded that these cases be handed over to the NIA to deal with the ‘anti-national’ onslaught on the culture and integrity of India.
Nearly 150 people, including retired judges, diplomats, bureaucrats, police officials and veterans submitted this memorandum to the president Monday.
“We are greatly disturbed by the mindless instigation of reported violence in electoral vengeance against the people who exercised their democratic right to vote for one political party or the other,” the letter said.
“Media reports, largely substantiated by eyewitness accounts mention murders, rapes, attacks on persons and property, including by anti-national elements, leading to forced migration of people to shelter homes. These unfortunate developments, if unchecked, could establish a trend which will undermine and ultimately destroy the deep rooted democratic traditions of India,” they said in the letter.
Citing media reports, they said over a dozen persons, including women, have been killed in post-poll violence in West Bengal. They informed that over 15,000 incidents of alleged violence has taken place since the results were announced.
As a result, 4,000 to 5,000 people have reportedly migrated to Assam, Jharkhand and Orissa they said. They also sought a special relief package for the victims of violence, and efforts for their rehabilitation.
“Offences reportedly of rape, attempted rapes, and violating the modesty of women, targeting scheduled castes and tribes, and incidents of religious sacrilege are the worst manifestation of post-poll violence in West Bengal,” the senior citizens said.
The BJP has blamed the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) for the violence. However, the TMC has accused the saffron party of politicising incidents of violence. It said many of its party workers have also been killed. The West Bengal government has also refuted the allegations of large-scale violence.
The memorandum said, “It is clear that the overwhelming majority of civilian deaths resulting from political violence were the result of what should be understood as serious acts of commission and omission of the law and order enforcement machinery of the State, or, in the worst case scenario, induced ‘State Terror’.”
The memorandum noted that law and order is a State subject. So the government under Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee must act in accordance with the Constitutional mandate to maintain it and curb violence with an iron hand to ensure peace and tranquility, they said.