Bengal sees bias in NHRC’s post poll violence report

Investigation being conducted on post-poll violence in West Bengal, in Birbhum. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

The West Bengal government, in an affidavit submitted in the Calcutta High Court, has refuted the allegations made by the committee of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on post poll violence in the State as “sweeping homilies, absurd, and false”. The panel formation and the purported field teams were fraught with bias against the State’s ruling dispensation, it stated.

“I state that the members of the Committee have close association with the Bhartiya Janta Party and/or the Central Government. I state that such members have been deliberately chosen who have an inherent bias against the ruling dispensation and accordingly predisposed to give a negative report against the state about law-and-order situation in the State of West Bengal,” the affidavit said.

Rebuttal of contents

The 95-page report filed by State’s Additional Chief Secretary (Home and Hill Affairs) B.P. Gopalika before a five-Judge bench of the High Court contains paragraph-wise rebuttal of the contents of the NHRC report that was submitted before the bench on July 13.

The government’s response mentioned that the Twitter handle of Atif Rasheed, one of the members of the NHRC committee, goes with name @AtifBJP. Mr. Rashid was a former president of the students’ union of ABVP Satyawati College and contested the Delhi municipal election in 2021 on a BJP ticket, it noted.

The State referred to alleged BJP links of Rajiv Jain and Rajulben L. Desai. The “Committee has been deliberately constituted to spearhead a witch-hunt against the entire state machinery in West Bengal”, it alleged.

The NHRC chairperson has “abused the process of this Hon’ble Court and has appointed only those members who are interested in conducting a hatchet job against a democratically elected government”, it stated.

Emphasising that the report, on the face of it, was likely to severely damage and prejudicially effect the reputation of innumerable members of the police force and members of the administrative service, the government denied “the allegation that the entire state machinery in the State of West Bengal is responsible for the post poll violence”.

It asserted that the committee report gave the impression that post poll violence was going on unabated since the declaration of results on May 2, 2021. “ This impression is totally false, and the reality is starkly different. After the declaration of results on 2 May 2021, some incidents of violence have occurred. But since the new Government has taken over on 5 May 2021, the number of incidents has drastically reduced and at present the number of incidents taking place are almost non-existent,” it observed.

Panel’s recommendation

On June 18, the High Court asked the NHRC to set up a committee to probe the allegations of post poll violence and the panel had recommended that the CBI should probe the charges and that the cases should be tried outside the State.

The government affidavit said, “The recommendation of the Committee that the CBI should investigate such cases and that such cases should be tried outside the State of West Bengal are entirely denied by me. I state that as would be evident from what is narrated hereinafter the Committee has done an incomplete and biased investigation and there is no cogent basis for its recommendations”.

On July 22, the High Court allowed the government to file its response to the NHRC committee report .

The matter is likely be heard again by the bench on July 28.

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Printable version | Sep 18, 2021 11:10:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/bengal-sees-bias-in-nhrcs-post-poll-violence-report/article35570518.ece

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