KOLKATA: Taking note of an interim report by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on the post-poll violence in West Bengal, the Calcutta High Court on Friday said it prima facie appears to have caught the Mamata government on the wrong foot as the administration stayed in denial and tried to conceal more than reveal.
The five-judge bench castigated the government for its failure to create an atmosphere of trust to rehabilitate people displaced by the violence.
“In the violence, a number of persons were killed. Many suffered sexual violence and grievous injuries. Even minor girls were not spared. They have been brutally assaulted sexually. Properties of many of them were damaged and a number of them were forced to leave their houses and even migrated to neighbouring states. Till date, the state has not been able to create an atmosphere that could build confidence of the sufferers to return back to their homes or carry on their occupations,’’ the bench observed.
Following a slew of petitions on post-poll violence, the bench had directed the NHRC on June 18 to constitute a committee to study the situation.While the state authorities had argued that they had received no complaints of violence, the State Legal Services Authority and the NHRC were flooded with petitions from the affected people when a mechanism was created to approach them, the court noted. “People are afraid to even disclose their identity to apprehending threat to their life and property,” it pointed out.
The bench directed the state government to register all complaints of post-poll violence reported to the police or the NHRC, ensure medical treatment to all victims and provide ration even if the affected people have lost their ration cards. “Some are facing difficulty in getting their ration as their ration cards have been taken away by the goons,’’ the court noted, citing the report.
The bench issued notice to IPS officer Rashid Munir Khan, DCP (south suburban division), asking why he should not be hauled up for contempt of court for violating specific orders issued by it to give full protection to the visiting NHRC team.Atif Rasheed, a member of the NHRC committee, was obstructed and he and his team members attacked on June 21 in Jadavpur area. No police protection was provided to them though prior notice was given to the local police by the NHRC, the court pointed out.
‘More to conceal than to reveal’
“The NHRC committee has also recorded in the interim report that different authorities have failed to respond to the queries raised by it. It shows there is more to conceal than to reveal,” the five-judge bench of the Calcutta High Court observed