Academicians sign joint letter seeking probe into post-poll 'violence' in Bengal
More 600 academicians from across the country on Wednesday signed a joint statement against the alleged post-poll violence in West Bengal in the aftermath of the assembly elections.
The signatories appealed to various agencies such as the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), and the National Commission for Women (NCW) to conduct probes into what they claimed as “unprecedented violence” in Bengal.
Last week the Supreme Court agrred to hear petitions seeking the constitution of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the alleged violence and took cognisance of the accusations that the state government was complicit and overlooked these incidents.
While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accused the Trinamool Congress (TMC) of "targeted killings", the Mamata Banerjee-led party said the BJP was spreading fake news on social media.
“Those who voted against the TMC in recent elections in Bengal are being victimised. Many of them are under attack from the TMC-supported stormtroopers - their properties vandalised and livelihoods destroyed,” the statement read.
The signatories, mostly comprising professors, vie-chancellors, directors and deans of various universities, said quoted reports to highlight that dozens of people, including women, have been killed in post-poll violence in Bengal while thousand others have migrated to the adjoining states of Assam, Odisha and Jharkhand fearing persecution by the ruling Trinamool Congress. They accused the police, local administration, civil society and the media of being “hand in gloves with the perpetrators.”
“We are deeply anxious and worried about the people who exercised their democratic right to free and fair vote, thus incurring the wrath of the ruling party in Bengal. We are deeply concerned about the weak and vulnerable sections of the society whose rights as citizens of India are being suppressed by the state government merely for exercising their right to freedom of expression and association,” the statement further read.
The Calcutta high court had on Monday ordered the setting up of a three-member panel to ensure that those displaced by the post-poll violence in the state are able to return to their houses.
Meanwhile, the BJP said it will hold public programmes between June 1 and June 3 to discuss upon the prevalent issues pertaining to the alleged post-poll violence. It will be the party's first outreach programme after the assembly elections the state.
Stressing the acts of violence and politics of terror undermine the constitution and destroy the basic building blocks of democracy, the signatories of the petition also sought for the formation of a SIT to probe into the alleged violence.