NEW DELHI: The Centre on Saturday sought a report from the West Bengal government on the measures it took to contain political violence in the state and the steps it took to bring the culprits to book.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, however, hit back saying her state was peaceful and that such an advisory should be sent to the Uttar Pradesh government about the encounter deaths in the past few years.
Sources said the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) also issued an advisory to the West Bengal government, expressing "deep concern" over the unabated violence in the state over the years.
The MHA said the number of incidents of political violence in West Bengal increased from 509 in 2016 to 1,035 in 2018, with 773 incidents already being reported so far in 2019.
"Correspondingly, the death toll rose from 36 in 2016 to 96 in 2018 while 26 deaths have already taken place in 2019," the MHA said.
The advisory stated that "the continued trend of political violence from 2016 through 2019, as evident from the above figures, is indicative of the failure on the part of the law enforcement machinery of the state to maintain the rule of law and to inspire a sense of security among the people."
"The Government of India is seriously concerned over the prevalent situation in West Bengal. It is requested that a report may be sent to this Ministry on the steps taken by the state government and its law enforcement machinery to investigate the incidents of violence to bring the culprits to book as also the measures taken to contain and curb violence," the MHA advisory added.
Refuting the allegations of the continued trend of political violence, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee claimed Bengal is a peaceful state and that there is no such situation.
"The Central government should send an advisory to the Uttar Pradesh government. Many people were killed in the name of encounter in the last three years in that state. People are not allowed to lodge FIR in Gujarat. How many advisories have been sent to the state? They should look into this first and then talk about Bengal which is peaceful state," Banerjee told reporters at the state secretariat Nabanna.
West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi had on June 13 held a meeting with the leaders of the major political parties in the state over the issue of post-poll violence and to create a situation where peace and harmony prevailed.
The move came days after Tripathi met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah and apprised them of the situation in West Bengal.