The West Bengal government has alleged in an affidavit filed before the Calcutta High Court that the NHRC committee which probed incidents of post-poll violence in the state “was fraught with bias against the ruling dispensation”. Criticising the Mamata Banerjee government, the NHRC panel, in its report placed before the high court recently, has underscored that “the situation in the state is a manifestation of the law of ruler instead of rule of law”.
It recommended CBI probe into “grievous offences like murder and rape”. Slamming the report, the state government’s reply stated that the NHRC committee was formed at the direction of Calcutta High Court to probe post-poll cases but it has gone beyond its scope recommending CBI investigation and trial of post-poll violence cases outside the state.
The state has also termed the report to be politically motivated while pointed out that the state government and some police officers were insulted in the report submitted by NHRC.
It was alleged that the NHRC committee had exceeded its brief. Slamming the NHRC report, the state’s reply urged the court to disregard it. The report comprises “absurd, sweeping homilies” and the team went around the state to collect false information, it was contended.
Denying the allegation that the entire state machinery in West Bengal is responsible for post-poll violence, it submitted that the “police and all other competent officers of the State of West Bengal have taken all steps to prevent any violence after the declaration of results for the West Bengal State Legislative Assembly on 2 May”.
To substantiate its allegations of bias against the NHRC, the state government reasoned that the members of the NHRC committee are linked to BJP or Union government. On charges of molestation and murder, the state replied these charges are not supported by evidence, it was stated.
Maintaining that the acts of violence resulted in disruption of life and livelihood of thousands of people, the NHRC report said, “The local police have been grossly derelict, if not complicit, in this violence”. “The spate of violence shows a pernicious politico-bureaucratic-criminal nexus” the NHRC report observed. The state’s reply denied the allegation that the police were acting under influence and in a biased manner.
The report’s charge that police lacked the courage to act against goons of the ruling dispensation was also denied. The government’s reply highlighted, “Brief of camp setting” on 27 June and 28 June appears to be devoid of particulars. The camps were set up to know the complaints of the victims. But it is not clear at which place the camps were set up, the report pointed out. It does not give any idea how complainants got prior information about the camp.
The state government extended full cooperation to the NHRC team touring the state, it was stated. A sum of Rs 7,99, 382 was spent by the state to host the NHRC team, it was stated thereby seeking to rubbish charges non-cooperation levelled at the state government.
The matter is scheduled to be taken up for hearing on Wednesday by a five-judge bench of the high court, presided by Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal.