The Commission has askedpolice to probe the matter

Expressing shock over the attacks on those protesting against bursting of firecrackers during Diwali and Kali Puja; the West Bengal Human Rights Commission directed the police on Monday to probe three such incidents, including one where a person was killed.

While a 42-year-old person was killed at Ashokenagar in North 24 Parganas district after he protested against bursting of banned firecrackers in front of a Kali Puja pandal on November 2, a physically challenged person was assaulted in the city for the same reason on Sunday.

In a third incident, crackers were thrown from a city’s high-rise at group of people, including a child, passing along the street on Sunday. This led to a scuffle between the two groups.

“The Commission took cognisance of the incidents on the basis of media reports and has asked the police to probe the matter,” an official of the Commission said.

While the WBHRC had asked the Deputy Inspector General, Presidency Division to conduct an inquiry by a senior police officer in connection with the incident at North 24 Parganas, in the case of the other two incidents the city police has been directed to do so, the official added.

Despite such incidents being reported, non-government organisations monitoring pollution levels during the festivals said the noise pollution during Kali Puja and Diwali was less than that of the past five years.

“During Kali Puja, the sound of crackers was largely below the permissible limit of 90 decibel. On Diwali, on Sunday though, the limit was breached in some areas of the city,” said Sudipta Bhattacharjee, a representative of Saviours and Friends of Environment, a non-governmental organisation.

Representatives of the NGO who measured pollution levels, however, said air pollution due to smoke from fire crackers continues to be a concern like the previous years.

“The suspended particulate matter in the air was 471 microgram/meter cube on Diwali evening was about five times the permissible limit of 100 microgram/ meter cube,” Mr. Bhattacharjee said, adding that air pollution is also hazardous to health and can lead to various respiratory diseases.