Bengal sees sharp dip in post-poll violence, MHA team visits districts
Bengal witnessed a sharp fall in post-poll violence on Sunday with no killing or arson being reported from any part of the state, even as the four-member team of the Union home ministry visited parts of Birbhum and Hooghly districts in a chopper.
The Birbhum district police arrested 13 people in connection with the murder of a Trinamool Congress (TMC) worker at Khairasol on Friday night. “Eleven of these men were remanded in judicial custody while two were sent to police custody by the local court,” a district police officer said on condition of anonymity.
Bengal has been witnessing violence ever since the assembly poll results were declared on May 2. The TMC bagged 213 seats against the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) 77. Polls were held in 292 of the state’s 294 assembly seats as two candidates of two seats in Murshidabad district died of Covid-19. Polls in these constituencies will be held again later.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee said on Friday that 16 people were killed since May 2 and announced a compensation of ₹2 lakh for each of the affected families.
The Calcutta high court on Friday set up a five-judge bench headed by acting chief justice Rajesh Bindal to hear a public interest litigation related to post-poll violence. The petition was filed by advocate Anindya Sundar Das. The state has been directed to file an affidavit on Monday, specifying areas where violence took place and steps taken by the government.
The MHA team arrived in Kolkata on Thursday and met the home secretary and also called on Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar at Raj Bhawan on Friday.
Dhankhar had been speaking against the violence since May 2 and tweeting every day.
On Sunday, when the state observed the 160th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore without any public celebration, Dhankhar raised the issue even while paying homage to the Nobel laureate.
“Tribute to composer of NATIONAL ANTHEM, great philosopher & writer, Nobel Laureate, Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore on his birth anniversary. Unleashing of violence @MamataOfficial on those who exercised right to vote was not his dream. Let’s resolve to realize his dream,” he tweeted.
The governor also tweeted that BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari, who defeated Banerjee at Nandigram in East Midnapore district, called on him.
“Senior leader @SuvenduWB called on me at Raj Bhawan & expressed deep concern at alarming law and order @MamataOfficial and exodus of people even outside state. He asserted gruesome killings and rampant & unchecked destruction of property by ruling party members was planned,” wrote the governor, tagging the chief minister.
CPI(M)’s youth front leader Minakshi Mukherjee, who contested the Nandigram seat, led a peace procession in the constituency on Sunday. “We are appealing to supporters of all political parties to maintain peace and tranquility,” she said.
BJP leader Swapan Dasgupta, who lost from Tarakeswar in Hooghly district, lodged a police complaint on Sunday saying 260 people have been injured in political violence and many have fled from their homes. Dasgupta also alleged that ration shops were being given lists of BJP workers so that they are deprived of free ration till they join the TMC.
“Having suffered such a heavy loss, BJP leaders are making fictitious allegations across the state,” said TMC Lok Sabha member Saugata Roy.